Chanhassen Firefighter Doug Foote and MnFIRE President George Esbensen.

Chanhassen firefighter Doug Foote will walk 200 miles, from Marietta to St. Paul, to raise awareness and funds for the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative (MnFIRE) and firefighter health.

Foote is leading Miles for MnFIRE, a walk across Minnesota, which kicked off on Sept. 12 in Marietta.

The walk will go through various communities such as Waconia, Victoria, Chanhassen, Hopkins and St. Louis Park and will end the following weekend at the Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol in St. Paul.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of firefighters nationwide and is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service, according to a MnFIRE release. Firefighters also suffer from cancer and emotional trauma at higher rates than the general public.

MnFIRE is dedicated to providing Minnesota firefighters with tools they need to prioritize and protect their health.

Foote, wearing his firefighter gear, will walk the 200 miles and will be joined by other firefighters, their families and community members.

“I know so many Minnesota firefighters who have struggled with cancer, emotional trauma or cardiac issues and really appreciate the work that MnFIRE is doing to provide us and our families with the resources we need,” Foote said.

“Compared to what many firefighters endure as part of their jobs, walking for seven days and 200 miles is a small step to take in order to continue to raise awareness and funds for this important initiative,” he added.

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Lydia Christianson is a digital reporter for Southwest News Media. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota. When not reporting, she enjoys reading in coffee shops, listening to podcasts, and checking out new restaurants.