By: Jarret Romanello, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 13, 2022
On Thursday, Mission BBQ treated The St. Lucie County Fire District Combat Challenge Team to dinner celebrating the team’s November victory at the Firefighter Challenge World Championship.
The win is a defense of the team’s 2020 World Championship and came one month after they smoked the competition in Utah to become National Champions.
Before the National Champion and two-time World Champion team chowed down, Mission BBQ Community Ambassador Dayna Miller thanked them for protecting the community and representing our hometown so well.
The high-energy atmosphere at Mission BBQ is 100% American, with veteran and first responder pictures decorating the walls. “We want to make this a safe space for veterans and first responders to come – your home away from home,” Miller told the team.
And it was no surprise when the chow line opened that Brian Riebe and Matt Coney led the way. Riebe, holds the state record with the fastest Firefighter Challenge time – 1:21. Coney, the St. Lucie County Fire District Firefighter of the Year and nominee for the Florida State Firefighter of the Year, started competing in the challenge in 2012 before recruiting co-workers to form a team.
For Coney, the team’s success in the Challenge Course helps its members cope with the traumas they face on each alarm they go on. Assigned to Station 9 on North Beach as a Paramedic Driver Engineer and Cross-trained as a SWAT Medic with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Coney says firefighters need to exercise at high levels to burn off the traumas seen on the job. “We need this now more than ever PTSD is a real thing,” Coney said.
Deputy Fire Chief Paul Langel is happy to see the team working off job-induced stress. “This team trains hard, works hard, and always does the right things on and off the job,” Langel said.
Before the night ended, Coney presented Treasure Coast Sports Commission President Rick Hatcher and Vice-President Ryan Stickland with the same World Championship medals the team won in November. The Commission supports the team and was instrumental in bringing the World Championship to Fort Pierce. “It’s a partnership and friendship; they are part of the team,” Coney said.
With community partnerships that break bread together, a World Championship team that makes them role models, and the compassion to tackle PTSD, it’s no wonder the St. Lucie County Fire District’s motto is “Our Family Serving Yours.”