The Hammerhead Adventure Run was created to support the Boca Grande Fire Department’s Benevolence Fund. The fund helps firefighters and their families in emergencies.
This year, a portion of the money raised in the run will be going to the father of Jason “Hutch” Hutchinson.
Jim Hutchinson contracted Hepatitis C while in the Army, most likely from improperly cleaned medical equipment. Between 20 and 40 percent of those who get Hepatitis C have a persistant infection. Eventually, the damage done to the liver is so great that the organ fails, and a transplant is the only option. In fact, Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants.
Jim Hutchinson is in the process of establishing his eligibility for treatment through the VA, but until then he still needs a doctor’s care. And the costs are mounting. His doctor is walking a fine line between keeping Jim healthy and waiting for the inevitable failure of his liver.
Until then, he spends what time he can with his grandkids, though he does get tired easily.
“He’s the best grandpa you could ask for,” said his son, Jason.
The rest of the money raised will go into the fund. According to Jason, the department is already thinking of what it could be used for.
“Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in young kids,” he explained. “We are thinking about setting up a class to teach all of our children to swim, a survival swimming class. Also, we’ve been talking about setting up a scholarship fund for any of the firefighters or their families who might need help paying for school.”
At last year’s event, dozens of runners came out to participate in the Hammerhead Adventure Run. It started with a pile of soaking-wet shoes. The runners were instructed to take them off and throw them in a pile, at which time the firefighters sprayed them with gallons of water. Then the runners had to find their shoes in the pile before even beginning the race. They then had to carry a brick for a mile, dive under a net into a pool of freezing water, defeat tire obstacles, then jump in the Gulf, crawl under fences, run up the beach, squirm through tubes and much more.
It was a good time ... if you’re a masochist. But if you ever wondered what type of drills the firefighters have to go through in their competitions, this is pretty close.
So put on your running shoes (but not ones you like too much) and start practicing for, well, who knows what the brilliantly twisted minds protecting Gasparilla Island will come up with this time?
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