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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fit 4 Duty 5K honors Windham firefighter/EMT - By Michelle Libby


The second annual Fit 4 Duty 5K to honor Windham firefighter/EMT Rick Duncanson will take place this Sunday at Windham High School. The 5K was started by Denise Allen who worked with Rick and wanted to do something special to remember him. The proceeds from the run go to the Rick Duncanson Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was started by his wife, Lisa and one of his two daughters. 

“He was always there for everyone else and this is our way of being there for him,” said his wife Lisa.
Rick passed away unexpectedly almost two years ago in December, he was 47. Rick and Lisa had been married just shy of 25 years, she said. The Windham High School graduates had been together for 30 years, which wasn’t enough time, Lisa stated. Rick joined the Windham Fire Department and Rescue in 1986 as a volunteer and his service grew from there. 

No one in the family had been to a 5K, Lisa said, but last year she finished her first and is ready to complete her second this year. Finishers will run under a 42-foot flag hanging from two ladder trucks. Last year there were 100 people enrolled and Lisa is concerned with the addition of another big race that same weekend attendance could be down. She doesn’t want that to happen. 

“Rick would have thought it was kind of fun because he was not an athlete. He’d have been humbled by it,” Lisa said. 

Denise Allen’s other motivation for the 5K was to get more fitness into the fire department and police departments, Lisa said. “Rick wasn’t the fittest, but he tried to stay healthy.”  

There is still time to register on race day between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. The cost is $40 and finishers get a tech shirt and a BPA free water bottle. All the proceeds go to the scholarship. For more information on the race visit www.RickDuncansonMemorialScholarship.org.

Another fundraiser that is done in memory of Rick is Rick’s Ride in September. “The motorcycle ride, he would have said, ‘This is cool,’” Lisa added. 

All of the fundraising goes to scholarships for students who have a fire, EMS or law enforcement connection or are going into these fields. The first year, in Windham, the fund gave away three scholarships worth $1,500, and in 2014 it gave two $1,000 scholarships, one to Devon Jones and one to Savannah Johnston. 

“There were lots of donations in the beginning in lieu of flowers,” Lisa said. In 2015 they hope to include more schools like Gorham and Portland and eventually have the funds to give scholarships all over the State of Maine. “Rick put two kids through college so he knew how much it costs. He had a lot of good friends who are participating and do all they can,” Lisa said. Rick’s best friends help to judge the entries for the scholarships around the dining room table at Lisa’s house. 

“We miss him. It’s hard,” she said.

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