Continuing the MD tradition
10-year veteran firefighter Leon Burke is spending 50 hours atop the Amherst Fire Department's aerial ladder truck.
© Darrell Cole - Cumberlandnewsnow.com
Leon Burke enjoys the view from atop the Amherst Fire Department’s aerial ladder truck. Burke will stay 72 feet in the air until Saturday at 2 p.m., raising money for the 14th John Michels Sr. MD Ladder Sit. Follow the Cover It Live feed on the right side of the website.
AMHERST – The 14th John Michels Sr. Ladder Sit for Muscular Dystrophy has begun.
Just before noon, 10-year firefighter Leon Burke was elevated 74 feet into the air above the Walmart parking lot.
With the exception of periodic breaks, he will stay atop the fire department’s ladder truck for 50 hours.
He will come down on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“As the day got closer I was a little nervous, but I was more excited,” said Burke. “This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now that it’s here I’m going to make the most of it.”
Burke said he’ll be watching DVDs on his laptop and playing on his cell phone while in the air. He will also be enjoying the view.
“You can really see quite a bit from up here,” Burke said. “The view is fantastic. You can see the wind turbines on the marsh, you can see downtown and you see all the activity in the parking lots of the Superstore and Walmart.”
Burke said he’s hoping for good weather until Saturday.
“I know when I got up this morning I was a little concerned because it was cloudy and drizzly,” he said. “It’s nice to see the sun come out and there are a few clouds so it shouldn’t get too hot.”
Voluntary toll stations have been set up at the entrances to the parking lot and Burke is hoping people will make donations to support the fire department’s campaign.
“My grandfather ‘Pinky’ Burke helped start the MD campaign at the fire department 50 years ago, that’s why I’m doing it, but I also had two cousins who died of MD,” Burke said. “It’s personal for me.”
The ladder sit, on average, raises between $16,000 and $20,000. Last year, the fire department’s campaign surpassed $350,000 since it started raising money in 1964.
Past Ladder Sitters
1996 - Paul Black
1997 – Mike Brown
1998 – Ron Curtis
1999 – Bill Crossman
2000 – John Michels Jr.
2001 – George Black
2002 – Gregg LeBlanc
2003 – Steve Colborne
2004 – Stephen Landry
2005 – Jim Triff
2006 – Roger Gouchie
2007 – Jody MacKenzie
2008 – Paul Lacey
2009 – Alan Perry
2010 – Greg Jones
2011 – Chris Hicks
2012 – Gary Hunter
2013 – Raymond MacDonald