National Volunteer Fire Council Announces Fired Up For Fitness Challenge Winner

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Mike Bitney accepts the first annual Fired Up For Fitness Challenge Award in Denver on August 13, 2005.
Washington, D.C., August 9, 2005 - The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce that the winner of the first annual Fired Up For Fitness Challenge is Michael Bitney of Spooner, Wisconsin. Mike, a 45-year old District Attorney, joined his local fire department after being moved by the events of September, 11th, 2001. Mike first read about the Fired Up For Fitness Challenge in Fire Engineering magazine and requested more information from NVFC. After reading the statistics on firefighter fatalities from heart-attacks Mike made the decision to not become another statistic. Mike started walking and working out at the gym regularly. His wife and kids soon noticed a difference in not only his physique but also his attitude towards his new lifestyle. According to Mike, "Instead of dreading getting out of bed or getting off the couch to go to the gym or go for a walk, I dreaded missing a workout." Mike now exercises five days a week for at least an hour.

Since starting the Challenge back in January, Mike has lowered his blood pressure, cholesterol levels and standing heart rate. "No longer am I among the first guys to have to changes air bottles when packing out. I've also found that regular exercise helps me deal with the real stress of being a husband, a dad, a coach, a prosecutor, a firefighter and a friend. I haven't reached all my goals, but thanks to the NVFC Fired Up For Fitness Challenge, I am well on my way there. More importantly, I am committed to continuing my journey to better health and better living." The NVFC salutes Mike Bitney and others who have made the decision to become heart-healthy.

The award ceremony for the Fired Up For Fitness Challenge will be held at the NVFC booth, #317, at Fire Rescue International at 3:00pm on Saturday, August 13th, 2005. The Challenge is an online program where firefighters can log their daily physical activity and at certain milestones are rewarded. To date, over 1300 individuals are logged on to the Challenge. Mike will receive a Cable Cross machine donated by FreeMotion Fitness valued at over $6,000. Remarks from the NVFC, FreeMotion Fitness and the U.S. Fire Administrator will take place.

In addition to the presentation, NVFC will also be performing blood pressure and body composition screenings, and cholesterol screenings. The cholesterol screenings each take only about seven minutes to complete. Participants are given the opportunity to meet privately with a health counselor to discuss their test results. We hope to surpass last year's success where we screened over 1,000 individuals. Participants also will receive valuable information on lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure, nutrition, smoking cessation and more. We encourage everyone attending the show to stop by and have their levels checked.

In its second year, the NVFC's Heart-Healthy Firefighter program educates firefighters and the communities they serve about the risks of heart attacks and other heart-related dangers inherent to firefighting. The program has set an aggressive goal of reducing heart-related on-duty firefighter deaths by 25% by the year 2008.

The NVFC Heart-Healthy Firefighter Resource Guide developed by the NVFC has already provided thousands of firefighters across the United States with valuable information on combating cholesterol and heart disease, as well as promoting better nutrition and overall physical fitness. The NVFC Heart-Healthy Firefighter Resource Guide is available at www.healthy-firefighter.org. This web site also offers other heart-healthy tools, including a medical history form that firefighters can print out and provide to their doctor.

For more information on the National Volunteer Fire Council's health and safety efforts, including the Heart-Healthy Firefighter program, contact Maggie Wilson, Director of Health & Safety, at 1-888-ASK-NVFC or 202-887-5700, or via e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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