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Trevor's challenge aids troops in Iraq

May 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
This Memorial Day will be especially moving for a local mom. Firefighters from across the country are preparing for the 2008 Trevor A. Win'E Memorial Day Challenge. It's an event to honor the Army specialist killed in the line of duty in Iraq.With every pull-up, push-up, sit-up, and squat, firefighters get ready for a grueling workout.

"Three hundred pull-ups, 400 push-ups, 500 sit-ups, 600 squats," explains Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) engineer Jeff Hughes.

It's a Memorial Day challenge to honor Trevor Win'E, the 22-year-old Army specialist killed in Iraq four years ago.

"It means a chance to keep my son's memory alive, and do something for troops and let them know we appreciate everything they're doing," said Trevor's mother Debi Win'E.

Debi Win'E says after Trevor's death, friends and strangers sent money. They weren't sure what to do. But then they remembered his special vest equipped with a high-tech cooling system. Trevor never got the chance to wear it.

So far, through their donations more than 2,000 military personnel overseas have received one.

"They've even been wearing them at night, when it's gone from 140 to 120 degrees," said OCFA Battalion Chief Ron Blaul. "They're still wearing them at night to get a night's rest."

The fitness challenge on Memorial Day named after Trevor helps buy even more vests. Each team is made up of four people. Each team donates $200 to take part in the challenge, which is enough to buy one vest.

"My son and Trevor is who this is all about. They were friends," said OCFA firefighter Mary Blaul.

The event has grown, inspiring many to take part across the country.

"It actually gives me goose bumps. I feel so fortunate because my son came home, and where Debi's... So it's incredible," said Mary Blaul.

Debi Win'E calls it her therapy. She says she'll continue until they're out of money or the troops return -- or until every member of the military has a cooling vest.

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