Firefighters For Healing founder Jake LaFerriere is the son of a firefighter. Jake fondly remembers that when he was young he would drop his dad off at the fire station and look up to the firefighters. He remembers spending time shadowing Pops or helping to clean off the rigs. This precious time left an impression on his heart. When Jake was old enough, he dedicated years to training and honored the calling to become a firefighter.
In January 2001, when Jake became a Firefighter he had realized his lifelong dream. He was assigned to Minneapolis Station 8, located on Blaisdall Avenue near West 28th Street in Uptown. For a little bit of history, if you traveled back to the year 1884, Station 8 was opened as Station J. Of all the initials!! Could this be just coincidence or written in the stars or yet another “thin space” as Jake fondly refers to coincidences?
Jake’s days at Station 8 running the rigs in and around Uptown on Hennepin, Girard, Lyndale and Lake was where he earned his stripes and respect from his peers. He learned teamwork, loyalty, courage, bravery and strength.
A little over 9 years later, life as he knew it would change. Jake barely survived a backdraft explosion in July 2010. He laid in the Hennepin Healthcare Burn Unit with only a few immediate family and friends allowed to see him and witness his pain. The emotions, the physical pain, the fear of the unknown and many challenges were his reality for quite a few months. Jake would lean on his faith and true friends, listen to advice and draw on his inner strength to remain hopeful for a full recovery. When doctors informed Jake that his hands were too injured to lift the weight of a fireman’s breathing apparatus or carry a fire hose … he was forced to retire. Although devastating, Jake was not afraid of his future and purpose. He had the courage to start Firefighters for Healing to bring aid to firefighters, burn survivors and their families.
Fast forward to 2019, Jake is bringing Firefighters for Healing to where his career started in Uptown. We are very excited to announce that Firefighters for Healing has been given permission to run pulltabs, bingo and charitable gambling machines at The Pourhouse Uptown and The Pourhouse Downtown starting in May 2019.