KINGSTON — North Kitsap Fire & Rescue firefighter Jasper Stenstrom had the ninth-fastest time overall in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, Sunday in Seattle’s Columbia Tower.
Dressed in 50 pounds of bunker gear, Stenstrom was one of 1,550 firefighters from nearly 300 departments from 21 states and five countries to climb Columbia Tower’s 69 flights of stairs – that’s 788 feet of vertical elevation and 1,311 steps — as a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Stenstrom, 23, finished in 12 minutes 49 seconds to finish ninth overall and first in his age division.
Stenstrom was also the top finisher among NKF&R firefighters. Sherman Williamson, 30, finished in 19 minutes 7 seconds and placed 471st overall. Jens Brombach, 26, finished in 20 minutes 19 seconds and placed 636th.
The top male finisher overall was Andrew Drobeck, 31, of Missoula, Mont., City Fire. He finished the stairclimb in 10 minutes 48 seconds, defending his 2012 title as top finisher. His record, set in 2012, is 10 minutes 38.2 seconds.
The female finisher was Georgia Sanz Daniels, 45, of Graham Fire and Rescue. She finished in 14 minutes and 22 seconds, defended her title as top female finisher in 14 of her past climbs.
As of Sunday, Stenstrom was also sixth on the list of individual fundraisers, with $5,633.
According to NKF&R spokeswoman Michele Laboda, NKF&R has to date raised $10,008 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“Although NKF&R is the smallest fire department in Kitsap County, only one other local department — South Kitsap Fire & Rescue — has raised more than NKF&R’s team,” Laboda reported. “NKF&R’s team isn’t done. They have until the end of the month to continue to raise money to stop leukemia, lymphoma and all cancers.
"We have a deep history of participating in the tower climb, dating back to when NKF&R lost one of its own — 33 year-old Firefighter/Paramedic Tom Kenyon — to leukemia in 1997," Laboda continued. "NKF&R’s 2013 tower climb team represents a continuation of our long-standing efforts to support our friends and neighbors afflicted with all forms of this terrible disease. We are proud of our entire team and, especially, of Jasper’s obvious dedication to this important cause.
"Jasper has been a member of NKF&R’s well-regarded volunteer-intern program since 2008 and, just recently, took another step toward achieving his dream of a fire service career by accepting an emergency services position in the Spokane area."
All told, the 22nd annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb (www.Firefighter Stairclimb.org) exceeded its fundraising goal of $1.2 million, according to the Washington/Alaska chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
In a story in the March 8 Herald, Stenstrom said he was motivated to participate in the event after his cousin, Denton Holmgren, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: and a friend’s son, Ethan Goozovat, 6, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December.
Last month, Stenstrom held a fundraiser at Kingston Albertson’s, where he climbed 69 flights on a Stairmaster in 12 minutes. Ethan joined in, and hopped on with Stenstrom and helped push him along. NKF&R’s team was able to raise $1,409 that day alone.
“I wear the uniform, but they’re the real heroes,” Stenstrom said of Ethan and Holmgren.
To make a donation, visit www.firefighterstairclimb.org.