MD Ladder Sit continues

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Burke halfway through 50-hour campaign

Veteran firefighter Leon Burke is halfway through his 50-hour campaign in the 14th John Michels Sr. Ladder Sit in the Walmart parking lot.

Veteran firefighter Leon Burke is halfway through his 50-hour campaign in the 14th John Michels Sr. Ladder Sit in the Walmart parking lot.

AMHERST – Despite a wet, rainy – and sometimes loud – evening, firefighter Leon Burke is new home perched 70 feet above the ground.

Burke, this year’s participant in the 14th John Michels Sr. MD Ladder Sit, is just over 24 hours away from completing his stay atop the Amherst Fire Department’s aerial ladder platform.

“So far, so good,” Burke said. “I love it up here, the view is great.”

Burke was lifted into position at noon on Thursday and will remain there until 2 p.m. on Saturday. He is brought to the ground every few hours for a medical checkup and to get something to eat.

Other than that, he’s on top of the world.

Burke had to be lowered quickly on Thursday afternoon as a thunderstorm rolled through the area at about 3 p.m. and then another storm hit the area just after supper. He spent most of the evening at 50 feet as a precaution.

“The first clap of thunder sort of startled me, but it didn’t take them long to get me down. I got pretty wet, but was never in any danger,” Burke said. “It was wondering if it was ever going to stop raining, though, but after about 11 last night it stopped and it was a beautiful night.”

Burke said the crew on the ground moved the bucket to it wasn’t facing into the wind and rain. He spent the night watching movies on his DVD player and laptop (including the Expendables movies)  before turning in for the night just after 11 p.m.

“Slept like a baby,” he quipped. “I didn’t hear a thing until about 10 to six this morning.”

As of this morning, the department has raised just over $4,100. The goal is to raise between $16,000 and $20,000. All the proceeds go to support the fire department’s Muscular Dystrophy campaign.

The department has raised more than $350,000 since 1964 when it started fundraising for the MD association.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst Fire Department, MD association

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