Golden Valley Firefighter Chairs Lung Association Campaign

Golden Valley Firefighter Ken Bence is this year’s Honorary Chairman of the Christmas Seals Campaign by the American Lung Association (ALA) in Minnesota. The campaign supports ALA in Minnesota in its fight for clean air, healthy lungs, and medical research.

Bence has been a paid-on-call firefighter with the Golden Valley Fire Department since 1999 and currently serves as captain at Station 2. In his day job, he is director of community health initiatives for the state public programs division of Medica Health Plans.

“As a health professional and as a firefighter, I have seen the effects of lung disease in our community,” Bence said. “Plus, I watched my Dad suffer from emphysema before he died two years ago. Buying and using Christmas Seals on holiday cards and packages is one way everyone can help fund vital research for lung cancer, COPD, asthma, as well as core programs of the American Lung Association.”

For the past two years, Bence and other Golden Valley firefighters have supported ALA efforts by participating in its local Fight for Air stair climb event, one of many “vertical road races” held annually throughout the nation. ALA in Minnesota’s participants race up 660 steps of the Accenture Tower in Minneapolis. Golden Valley firefighters do the race wearing full fire turnout gear, which weighs 68 pounds.

In 2010, the Golden Valley team raised the most money ($5,228) of the nine fire departments and the 38 non-fire department teams participating. Bence was Minnesota’s top individual fundraiser, bringing in $3,425. He was also the top fundraiser in 2009.

The 2011 Fight For Air Climb will be held Feb 26, and the Golden Valley Fire Department will once again participate. Anyone interested in becoming a Golden Valley paid on-call firefighter can contact the Fire Department.

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