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Paying tribute one mile at a time

University of Wisconsin graduate to make stop in Creston during trans-continental bike ride to honor fallen firefighters.

Published: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 11:04 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 12:30 p.m. CST

Today is day 29 of a coast-to-coast adventure for Jeff Moore. On Tuesday, Moore will be arriving in Creston, where he will be hosted overnight at the Creston Fire Station.

Moore, 23, of Madison, Wis., is cycling more than 4,400 miles from San Francisco, Calif., to New York City to bring awareness and raise funds for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization created in 1992 in Emmitsburg, Md., to honor fallen firefighters and aid their surviving family members.

The trek, which has been in the planning for less than a year, became a reality once Moore — a firefighter of four years with the town of Madison Fire Department — graduated from the University of Wisconsin in May.

“Part of this is to get an idea of different areas of where I might want to live,” Moore said. “But, I think, a lot of it (inspiration) was just from being in the fire service. I wanted to see what the fire service looked like across the country and not just in my city or county.”

Moore said he wanted to use the opportunity as a way to raise funds for the families of fallen firefighters.

Moore said he chose the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation because, not only do they help assist families of fallen firefighters, but, they also provide education and training to help prevent death in the line of duty.

Paying respect

It is Moore’s goal to arrive at the World Trade Center site, formerly known as Ground Zero, in time for the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11. Along his trans-American route, Moore has been hosted by a different fire station on every stage of his route. Within the walls of each station, Moore is met with the same brotherhood that bonds his team back home and is provided meals and a warm bed each night.

Moore said he enjoys the firefighters he meets at each stop, touring their stations, viewing their trucks and listening to their stories.

With three departments, Moore has visited memorials for fallen firefighters in Sacramento, Calif., Carson, Nev., Evanston, Wyo., and hopes to visit one in Iowa City before his tour ends.

“It’s been a great opportunity,” Moore said. “Visiting each memorial with their fire departments was kind of a cool way to remember those people we have lost.”

Training

When it comes to distance, Moore is putting in more miles on his bike than ever before.

“I don’t think anything could have prepared me for biking this much,” Moore said.

Moore said his training consisted of cycling to and from school and work and riding 80-85 miles on his days off. For the past five days, Moore has been logging 100 to 120 miles a day.

More said he hasn’t changed his eating habits, but he has been “eating a lot and drinking lots of water.”

“They (the firefighters hosting him) put on really big meals,” Moore said. “They make me dinner or a big breakfast. It’s been really good.”

In between stops, Moore is self-supported, but, has been carrying along supplies donated to him like Gatorade and water.

“I carry my clothes, mechanics tools and food,” Moore said. “That’s an extra 33 pounds that I’m carrying that I did not train with.”

Moore said he appreciates all of the support, which, has been more than he could have ever expected.

Awareness

When Moore started his ride, he had two goals in mind: to honor, respect and remember all fallen firefighters and to promote a positive image of the American Fire Service.

“So far, I feel those two goals have been achieved,” Moore said.

Moore said the endeavor has people excited.

“They think it’s a really cool story,” he said. “Everyone has been so good to me and I think people are getting a better image of who firefighters are and how to involve them in the their community.”

To follow Moore’s journey or to make a donation, visit www.fireservicetribute.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/fireservicetributeride.

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