Congratulations Chuck Benslay!! Chuck is headed to Firefighter Combat Challenge World Finals in Sacramento, CA! See his story and update below in the 'more info' section.
Well...he did it!! Our very own Chuck Benslay is now a finalist for the Firefighter Combat Challenge World competition! Chuck has been working out, researching, practicing, recovering from injuries, learning and relearning, and implementing new techniques, all the while becoming stronger with the help of the Firefighter Combat Challenge.
The Firefighter Combat Challenge (FCC) is a head to head competition where firefighters wearing full bunker gear, perform 5 job related tasks including climbing a 5 story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging a charged hose line and finishing with a 175lb dummy drag. Chuck competed twice in 1998 with a fellow firefighter, however no one from his department returned the following year. Several years later, in 2012, with a passion to regain his health after two back surgeries, Chuck returned to the Firefighter Combat Challenge individually. Since that time, Chuck has competed annually while working hard to rebuild his strength and decrease his time. As his wife, it has been my honor and pleasure to love, support and encourage Chuck as much as possible to reach his goals.
Chuck re- entered the FCC as motivation to continue healing from two back surgeries resulting from an injury which could have ended his firefighting career. ' I just wanted to recover...I felt I could hardly do anything for a year...then I was scared to do anything for another year'. Fighting his personal battles while healing, my husband competed in three challenges in 2013 and 2 challenges in 2014 working to build is strength while learning various training techniques. Then in 2015, just when it appeared as though Chuck had a shot to qualify for World Finals, he fractured his foot on duty while fighting an apartment fire. This took him back out of competition for the remainder of the year. It was heart breaking to see the training and effort he put in, only to be met with another physical injury, but I was grateful his injury was not worse than it was.
In 2016, Chuck returned with greater physical and mental strength making the individual run in his best time since 1998! He nailed it!! Then, in 2017, with the gift of a new custom painted helmet , Chuck was ready to make a run to achieve a qualifying time for the World Finals. Unfortunately, after only one run for the season, he broke his finger during training and missed the remainder of the season. Quit?...oh how tempting...but not my husband, though many times he considered the thought, he never gave up on himself, or his faith and instead he went back to training...again...and again. How much I respect the courage to return...over and over again...no matter his circumstances. My pride for my husband has never been measured by the personal times he beat...but by the times he mentally overcame to train and run again. I am so very proud of him!!
Then, on June 23, 2018, in Lexington, KY, after some subtle persuasion convincing him to compete, Chuck qualified for the World Finals in the individual competition. The next day, Chuck went on to qualify for the World Finals in tandems with retired Battalion Chief Bill Christiansen from Lansing, Michigan. Chuck is currently the only firefighter from the Indianapolis Fire Department competing in the Firefighter Combat Challenge. His persistence, blood (literally), sweat and resilient attitude has finally paid off to take him all the way to the World Finals. At the end of October 2018, at 51 years of age, Chuck will compete in Sacramento, CA against firefighters from all over the world! Way to go Chuck!!
Chuck works hard to stay fit in hopes of a healthy retirement one day, but also to continue to be the firefighter God has called him to be. He understands how vital it is for him to stay physically and mentally prepared on the job for any situation and anyone who is in need of help. He doesn't expect others to rescue him...he expects God to work through him to rescue others, even his fellow firefighters if ever needed. The Firefighter Combat Challenge is the motivation Chuck has used to recover and rebuild his strength to keep him ready to serve others whenever or wherever he may be needed.
The financial costs to compete in the Firefighter Combat Challenge can be somewhat concerning. Competitions are held over two day periods in various major cities which requires traveling. Most of the time we use the camper for lodging which has been an incredible blessing from God. However, it would cost us more money in gas than in airfare to travel to California and back in the camper. So that means we will have to provide for lodging, transportation, and meals while we are there. The whole process can be just a little financially challenging in and of itself.
As Chuck's wife, I am asking for ANY support you could give Chuck while he prepares to represent Indianapolis in world competition. Whether you offer support through your prayers, words of encouragement or a congratulations for coming this far in competition, I am grateful. Please pray for his safety and good health as well as our financial ability to cover costs. Please also pray that God would continue to help me to provide the support Chuck needs to help him reach this very personal and professional goal.
Thank you all so much for the blessings you are in our lives!! We love you all so much!! I'll keep ya posted!!
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