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Canyon Lake Firefighters’ Association Kicks Cancer Out of the Park, Creates Scholarship for High School Students

Kicking Cancer Out of the Park on Sunday were Canyon Lake firefighters (l-r): Capt. Robert Thoele, firefighter Nathan Garner, firefighter Austin Childers, Lt. Justin Shields, firefighter Charles Richard, Lt. Brett Parker, firefighter Mitchell Wigginton, Engineer Kyle Ingram, and firefighter Jason Graham.

Members of the Canyon Lake Professional Firefighters Association (CLPFA) hustled Sunday to raise funds to fight breast cancer and send a Canyon Lake High School (CLHS) student to firefighter and emergency-medical services (EMS) school.

They barbecued brisket and sold jambalaya at the Fourth Annual Dam Fine Car Show and Sunday Drive at Canyon Lake Dam, winning first place for their efforts (which included showing up with a ladder-truck and ambulance), then left for the CRRC’s Rec Center on Mabel Jones Drive to host Kick Cancer Out of the Park!, a kickball game with the New Braunfels and San Antonio fire departments.

Also for sale at the Rec Center were silent-auction items and t-shirts. Five dollars from the proceeds of each t-shirt sold went to charity.

When the day ended, proceeds stood at $6,000.

While the cancer charity will get a check, the students who apply for the scholarship will have to work almost as hard to earn it as the firefighters did.

Firefighter Charles Richard said the association wants to give back to the community by showing Canyon Lake High School students who don’t want to attend four-year college there are other options besides joining the military or working in trades.

Students who opt to serve their community as firefighters enjoy good pay, benefits, and the chance to “retire” at age 38.

But firefighter school costs $6,000.

The association wants to make sure the student they send to Texas Fire Academy can handle the rigors of the job.

Applicants will be asked to prove their mettle by going through a mock hiring process that doesn’t include taking a written test, although CLPFA will consider students’ grade-point averages.

Firefighters want to see what they’re really made of and will be asked to take a physical fitness test and pass a board interview, “what you would do to get a fire job gives us a good look at applicants and gives them a good practice run to get a real job after they graduate,” Richard said.

The majority of students who wash out of fire academy can’t meet physical-fitness requirements or panic when blindfolded and asked to perform searches inside buildings.

“People drop out all of the time because they can’t hack it,” he said. “One of the main things for us is leadership qualities and humility. We want a candidate that’s 18 and ready to learn but is still capable of leadership qualities.”

When they graduate, CLHS students can enjoy the same satisfaction CLPFA members do — helping their community immediately.

“EMS fire service is a very valid option for an 18-year-old,” Richard said. “I feel like that’s not something that’s thought of every day. We want, as members of the line crew, to directly impact the community and this was the best way we knew how.”

On Facebook, CLPFA also thanked the community for making this outreach possible:

“We cannot express our gratitude enough to the Canyon Lake community and everyone that came out and saw us yesterday! We had so much support, in fact, we won the #damfinecarshow!!! The car show was incredible, followed by a wonderful display of community involvement at the kickball tournament! Great music with Damon Curtis! We thank everyone involved, especially the businesses that contributed to the silent auction! ”

Canyon Lake businesses who supported CLPFA on Sunday include:

Apache Rifleworks
Alamo Market and Processing
Bombshell Beautique- Salon&Spa+Boutique
Caledonia Cleaning Services LLC
CanTex Roofing & Construction
Casa Creek Boutique
Canyon Lake Vacations
Destination Nutrition
Destination Tattoo Tx
Elara Caring (Beth Loukes-Wilson)
Farmers Insurance
FIRE Fitness
Granzin’s Market
Goofy’s Bar and Grill
Guadalupe River Rocks Designs
Hill Country Furnishings
Holly’s Massage
Jay & Diane’s Horseshoe Grill
Kafekali & Bakery
MedDrip IV Therapy
Nailin’ It with Taylor
Nails by JC
Pier Sushi
Riva (Rivas Roadhouse)
Salty Bitxh Fishing Co
Texas Lone Star Leather LLC
The Beehive Boutique
The Dam Salon (Veronica Nevarez)
The Mayer Family
The Nutrition Shack, Canyon Lake, TX
Valor Performance Centers
Wackem&Stackem BBQ Cooking Team

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