Smokejumpers, marathons, WFF, and Spam

Campfire talk

The first time I watched this video released Tuesday I was confused as it took unexpected turns. It starts out with a group of people of a certain age sitting around a fire. A couple of the faces are recognizable and they start talking about fire. And Spam.

The Spam talk ends quickly and becomes the story of how smokejumper Kenneth Perry turned the toughest day of his life into something inspirational, leading to a 52-mile marathon benefitting fallen firefighters and their families through the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Hormel said they learned about Kenneth’s story after making a donation to a fundraiser for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Since then Hormel has continued to support the WFF.

“Though we were introduced to SPAM®’s deep role in smokejumper lore, Kenneth’s story is the inspiration we wanted to share”, they said after releasing this video.

Like Ken said, “In a perfect world we would not need the Wildland Firefighter Foundation“, which assists firefighters and their families when tragedy strikes. But, for many reasons, we do need it and other similar organizations.

We’ve been told that in the campfire scene you may be able to pick out in addition to Kenneth, Wayne Williams, Keith Wolferman, Maggy Doherty, Riva Duncan, and Kent Hamilton. In the footage shot during the run you’ll see hotshot crews including, Texas Canyon, Bear Divide and Kern Valley.”

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Sunil.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “Smokejumpers, marathons, WFF, and Spam”

  1. Ken and I worked together for about 10 years as Bravo 5 (ASM). Ken is all that and more. It was an honor to be his partner.

  2. Tomorrow I leave for Emmitsburg and the National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial Service where honor all those who gave all. It’s a humble experience. I will also contribute to the WLFFF.

  3. A good reminder of why we do what we do, regardless if you’re a jumper, hotshot, or whatever. Sure I’m sure someone out there will say a feel good story doesn’t pay your mortgage. They’re right, but sticking it out in this profession is a choice.


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