Firefighter Combat Challenge offers support through tough times

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Climbing stairs, pulling loaded hoses, and carrying people to safety, it is a test of mental and physical strength at the Firefighter Combat Challenge.

Firefighters face off during the Firefighter Combat Challenge. (KSNB)

People come to compete from all over the world and it becomes like a big family.

“It's just hanging out with everybody and you know how to be a part of something that's really, it's a cliche, bigger than you,” Grand Island Firefighter Lonnie Mitteis said.

Like family, when one of their brothers or sisters is in trouble they come to the rescue. Lonnie was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year. He had to put his passion of competing on hold but the outlook seems good.

“Other than some small cancer in my ureters, I'm cancer free. so the oncologist said you are officially a survivor,” Lonnie said.

His competitors showered him in support by sending letters, checking up on him, and one man drove 10 hours just to sit with him during one of his treatments.

“You rarely find that in any other sport or any other job,” Cheri Adroin of the Lake Charles, Louisiana Fire Department said. “The people here we race against each other but not only that after the race is over we go back down the carpet and we help our fellow firefighters finish the race.”

This year they are supporting a family of a competitor who lost his life just last week. Lonnie said he is grateful for those who have gotten him and now this family through tough times. He hopes to be back on the course next year