Firefighter’s 50-hour fundraiser concludes
© Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News
Raymond MacDonald and his wife, Christine, prepare to leave the aerial platform that was his home for 50 hours over the weekend. The John Michels Sr. Memorial Ladder Sit raised about $13,500 for muscular dystrophy.
AMHERST – Raymond MacDonald was looking forward to some of the simplest of pleasures here Saturday as he stepped out of what had been his home for just over two days.
“I’m looking forward to being home with my family again and having a nice cold beer,” said MacDonald, the Amherst firefighter who spent 50 hours atop the department’s ladder truck in the Wal-Mart parking lot. “It’s good to be done, 50 hours is enough time.”
MacDonald climbed into the aerial platform on Thursday at noon to participate in the John Michels Sr. Memorial Ladder Sit that raised money for Amherst Fire Department’s Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
With the exception of a few breaks to get something to eat and to have hit vitals checked by a pair of nurses, MacDonald spent most of Thursday, all of Friday and the early part of Saturday 70 feet above the parking.
As MacDonald exited his temporary home the department said it had raised about $13,500 that goes directly to fund MD research.
“I spent most of the day today looking around. I was able to get the sides up and enjoy the view,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald said he talked to a lot of the firefighters who participated in previous ladder sits and found his experience pretty much matched what they went through.
He said he passed the time doing puzzles and watching movies and found he was able to sleep much better on Friday night than he was the night before.
“All in all it went very well,” he said. “Probably the last hour and a half I was looking forward to getting on the ground again. It was all worth it and I’d do it again. It’s a great cause and a great fundraiser. The community responded like it did every year.”
Just before he came down for the final time, MacDonald’s wife, Christine, spent some time with her husband at the top of the ladder.
His children and friends greeted them at the bottom when he touched down for the final time.
Christine said she’s happy to have her husband on the ground again.
“I’m used to him being away at times, but it’s great to have him back on the ground,” she said. “I went up with him for only a few minutes and I was ready to come back down. I don’t know how he stayed up there for 50 hours.”
The ladder sit began 17 years ago as a challenge with the fire department in Cole Harbour. It was renamed in memory of John Michels Sr., who was a longtime firefighter and supporter of the ladder sit.