Since 2012, the chapter has hosted the Fireman's Challenge at Missouri State to benefit the Mercy Burn Unit in Springfield, MO. The chapter strives to provide the best event possible, but as the saying goes, "All good things must come to an end". Participation has decreased gradually every year, sponsors have lost interest and most important, the chapter began to lose hope in the event. In January 2017, the idea was brought up to replace the Fireman's Challenge with a different event. For a small group of men, the idea of doing this was not even in the question: "We won't let this happen!". These brothers took it upon themselves to begin reviewing the event and look for ways of improvement. By March 2017, a solid restructure was completed.
The new restructure focuses on education and prevention while maintaining a fun and welcoming environment. The week long event, consists of daily events all leading up to the main event on Saturday, the challenge itself. Saturdays event has been completely revamped. The event usually involved student organizations, fraternities and sororities. The restructure includes these same groups, but also includes Fire Departments from Southwest Missouri and has already grown to include departments from all over the State of Missouri. Collectively, 30+ Fire Departments have been invited to the challenge on Saturday. In addition, the community is invited to participate in the event as well. We have created a family oriented event that is welcoming to both individuals of all ages as well as families. There will be activities for children and prizes.
In addition to the event changes, the chapter decided to change their philanthropic organization to the Springfield Fire Department's Prevention and Education Division. The department has always supported our event and helped in numerous ways. We felt it was only appropriate to give back to those who selflessly give on a day to day basis. In addition to Springfield Fire Department, the Fire Department that wins the overall challenge on Saturday will win a share of the proceeds to help fund their Training, Prevention, or Education division. Fire Departments all over the country are dealing with limited budgets, something we feel shouldn't effect their ability to educate the public or prevent them from training to better their ability to handle an emergency situation.
Though the September 2017 event has not taken place yet, we know that this will be our biggest event to date. One that will be unlike any event performed by any student organization, fraternity or PIKE Chapter.
What I believe we can all take from this is that even if at first you don't succeed, don't give up! The saying, "All things good things must come to an end", is nothing short of an excuse for those who want to take the easy way out of a difficult situation. My hope is that this event will raise awareness while giving everyone a chance to have fun time with firefighters from all over Missouri.