MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Macomb Township firefighter is about embark on a 140-mile walk from Macomb Township to Grand Rapids in full firefighter gear – his mission is to raise funds for firefighters in need.
“Our bunker coat — our bunker pants… our hats our gloves — when you add the pack it’s an extra 30 so it’s about 65 total,” said Joe Warne.
Talking with Joe Wayne of Neighbors United — tomorrow he starts a walk from Macomb Township to Grand Rapids... IN FULL TURNOUT GEAR (that’s 60-ish pounds). He’s raising cash for firefighters with cancer. Expecting to finish on Saturday. Full story tomorrow AM on @wxyzdetroit. pic.twitter.com/vQAOKMcPsq— Matthew Smith (@MattSmithWXYZ) June 4, 2019
“When people see this guy wearing all this gear, carrying an American flag, what’s going on — we can let the public know we’re not just in danger on our jobs,” Warne said.
That's all the weight he'll be carrying when he makes the slow, likely painful journey from Macomb to Grand Rapids.
Warne has spent the past several years raising money and helping families through his charity “Neighbors United.” He’s helped children with cancer, parents who can’t make ends meet to pay the bills and everything in-between. Last year, he raised more than $30,000. This time, he’s raising money during the walk for firefighters with cancer.
S/O to Joe Warne of Neighbors United -- he planned his 140-mile walk to help others, and he's now almost three hours in. He's told me he's expecting exhaustion, blisters and get this... he'll be back on the job Sunday. Want to help? --> https://t.co/5akgG08WCB pic.twitter.com/bQmpeVDW4a— Matthew Smith (@MattSmithWXYZ) June 5, 2019
“I know there’s been some state money that’s been made available, but we know there’s always a need for more and firefighters are the last people to ever say they need help.”
Warned expects he’ll hit rough spots, he’s hoping to walk between 30 and 40 miles daily — only stopping to hydrate and swap shoes occasionally. He’s already received $4,000 in pledges. He’s hoping more people continue to step up the donations as he makes his route. He believes he’ll walk between 12 and 16 hours daily, eventually reaching Grand Rapids on Saturday. If it works, he’ll be back at work answering fire calls Sunday.
This is the first time Warne’s non-profit has raised funds specifically for firefighters. If you want to donate money, you can donate through the Neighbors United Facebook donation drive.
You can also donate to the group's PayPal: Neighborsunitedmi@gmail.com — if you’re attempting to earmark the money for their latest fundraiser for firefighters with cancer, you should make a note of it when you donate.