They are the ones called to serve. The men and women who show up at most people's worst moment. Yet when they are in need themselves, few firefighters feel they are able to ask for help.
In 2003 a group of Chicago firefighters banded together to form Ignite the Spirit, a group built solely to support their brothers and sisters in their own time of need. For years they have quietly supported firefighters and their families with financial assistance and emotional support, donating over a million dollars to be there to help their own.
For the third time, many members of that group have joined the annual cross-country bike ride to raise funds for those battling cancer.
Among this year's riders that departed last Saturday was Alex Diaz and Dan Bomben. Both joined the group after their own battles with cancer and a desire to give back to the group that has helped others in the same shoes.
“’Ignite the Spirit’ is unbelievable. It really is,” Bomben said. “What they do for people...you don't even have to call them. They're there at your door.”
This year's seven-day ride totals nearly 800 miles taking the group through several states and across the U.S. border to finish in Toronto, Canada.
All proceeds raised go directly to Chicago Firefighters and their families in need.