Meet the Fort Worth firefighters set to climb Denali with purpose

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 4:06 PM

FORT WORTH -- While most North Texans will spend the 4th of July holiday grilling around the BBQ with friends and family, six Fort Worth firefighters will be trudging through ice and snow to reach North America's highest peak in Alaska. 

The Denali climb, which extends to the summit of Mount McKinley or 'Denali' as Alaskans call it, isn't for beginners.

The six firefighter brothers are set to leave in a few weeks.

"Four of us have done major climbs before," said firefighter Kasey Gandy. "But yeah, Denali is different. Some people think we're crazy."

Gandy is sort of the de facto leader of the group, organizing workout circuits and helping coordinate with a guide group out of Colorado.

The group is filled with a wide range of personalities and characters. Over the next few months, News 8 will follow the men during their journey.  

From gruesome workouts along the Trinity River, to hauling weighted sleds around downtown Fort Worth, it is clear they aren't taking the expedition lightly.

"There is something about a mountain like that, that you can't reproduce in a gym or a workout," said firefighter Daniel Ory.

But the men are climbing for more than self-accomplishment.

Each has pledged to do their trek on behalf of a burn survivor working with the Sons of the Flag charity.

The firefighters hope to carry letters from their survivor during the trek, and open them for inspiration as they make a final push as they work toward the summit during the three-week trip.

"That just gives it so much more meaning," said firefighter Matt Magoffin.

The group is trying to raise $10,000 through the climb to donate to the charity. So far, they've raised about $2,000 thanks to a charity dinner and an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a WFAA media partner.

But they say they are hoping for more as the ascent date approaches.

"We're just trying to climb for a bigger purpose," said Gandy.

For more information on donating to their cause, click here

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