Firefighter and paramedic Chris Bono recently heard the news that the St. James Ambulance District was hosting a 5K event to help offset his medical costs.
Bono has been fighting testicular cancer since November.
After six years on the job, his co-workers and friends at the SJAD felt like they could do something to help Bono, who has been on the job for nearly six years.
That's when they decided to create the Emergency Worker's Relief Fund for firefighters, paramedics, police officers and other emergency workers in and around Phelps County.
Bryan Lambeth, SJAD Administrator, said he hopes to see the 5K run/walk, called Freezin' for a Reason, become an annual event.
"Some of the employees at the ambulance district as well as some of the spouses said we want to come together and help Chris out with his medical expenses," Lambeth said.
"We are here for the community 24/7, 365 days a year, yet when something happens to one of us, we have to pull together and scrounge to help each other out."
Lambeth says various events and fundraisers throughout the year, along with the annual 5K, should help keep the newly created relief fund available to area emergency workers.
For Bono, 24, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, news about the event and the community's commitment left him a little lost for words.
"They did a lot of work on it. I didn't even know about it until recently," Bono said. "I'm impressed. St James has kind of grown, and I thought we lost some of that small town feel, but I'm impressed and thankful they could all come together for me."
Bono said he his halfway through his treatments, and his doctor expects him to make a full recovery.
"He's very optimistic," Bono said. "It should be considered a cure."
Bono hopes to get back to work after his recovery and possibly go back to school to study fire service administration.
As for the event, "Freezin' for a Reason" will be held Feb. 23 at Nelson Hart Park. The event starts at 6 p.m., with sign in at 5:30 p.m.
This evening event is appropriate for all family members, and participants are encouraged to dress up in costumes to "let the people of St. James know who we are," the SJAD wrote on their Facebook page.
Prizes will be given to the best costume. Freezin' for a Reason is open to all ages, but minors must be accompanied by an adult. T-Shirts will be provided on the day of the race.
Pre-registration cost is $30 per person, $50 per couple and $20 per child (ages 6-18). Children 5 and under are free. The cost is $40 per person on the day of the event. For more information please visit www.split-secondtiming.com, www.facebook.com/freezingreason or www.saintjamesambulance.org