Norm Smith Memorial Basketball Tournament
With eight years of experience serving as a firefighter and emergency medical technician, Chris Ledford of Fort Worth, Texas, dedicates his life to helping others. In addition to placing himself in harm’s way as part of his profession, Chris Ledford also gives back by participating in a variety of charitable activities, including an annual event called the Big Russian, where public servants play basketball to raise money for charity.
The Big Russian, also known as the Norm Smith Memorial Basketball Tournament, launched in 2009 as a way to honor Norm Smith, a fallen Dallas, Texas, officer shot while on duty. The 3-on-3 basketball tournament takes place annually each spring and involves law enforcement and fire department members, including police officers, federal agents, sheriffs, and firefighters.
All proceeds from the event go toward supporting charitable efforts throughout the local community. In previous years benefiting organizations have included The Birthday Party Project, which provides children who are without homes the joy of having their own birthday parties; Genesis Women’s Center, which aids women who have experienced domestic violence; and the Children’s Medical Center, which provides care for the area’s youth. Many other local agencies have received financial support as well.
Fort Worth resident Chris Ledford gives back to his community outside of his work as a firefighter. One way Chris Ledford helps the city of Fort Worth is through his work with the local Goodwill store, which helps those who need assistance with employment or job placement.
One of the pillars of the Goodwill approach is its investment in helping people get training for new jobs. This training can be undertaken in person or online. In-person training varies from area to area, as Goodwill partners with local training providers such as community colleges and some for-profit colleges. Some training leads to training certificates or college degrees, while other training simply helps people develop useful job skills. Online resources include career exploration and skills training opportunities as well as GCFLearnFree.org. Through these online resources, people can pursue new skills in areas like Microsoft Office and money management at their own pace. These resources are available in both English and Spanish.
Chris Ledford, Fort Worth
Chris Ledford of Fort Worth, Texas, works as a firefighter and first responder. Firefighters in Fort Worth and elsewhere not only deal with burning buildings, but also serve as first responders, providing medical and first aid services. Chris Ledford is interested in returning to college to get a premedical degree, and currently holds the EMT Basic certification.
EMT Basic certification indicates that the recipient has the skills necessary to stabilize or transport injured, wounded, or acutely ill individuals. To become a nationally certified EMT, a person must be 18 years of age or older and complete an EMT course that meets program standards. Initial certification requires that the EMT course was completed in the last two years, as this ensures the practitioner is familiar with current best practices for EMTs. Depending on circumstances, those who wait more than two years must complete either a refresher course or begin a course anew. The person must also sit for two exams and have a current CPR-BLS for Healthcare Providers credential or its equivalent.
Chris Ledford, Fort Worth
Since 2008, Chris Ledford has served as a firefighter with the City of Fort Worth, Texas. In this role, Chris Ledford strives to protect the lives of the people of Fort Worth.
When the weather becomes dry, citizens must take extra care to avoid fires. This begins with working smoke detectors in all indoor spaces, although these do not protect against outdoor blazes.
Experts recommend that anyone cooking outdoors should keep a working grill away from homes, decks, and trees, as well as from any social groupings. Users of gas grills must make sure that the lid is open before lighting a flame, just as those lighting charcoal grills should take care to add lighter fluid only before striking a match. Charcoal should cool thoroughly, and receive a water bath, before anyone attempts to discard the goals, and all grilling activities should end with removal of any built-up grease deposits.
Children and animals should always be three feet away from any open flame, which includes grills as well as fire pits and bonfires. Open fires should only occur well away from yard waste, tree debris, and anything else flammable. Finally, backyard celebrations must never include fireworks, as these are safe only for professional use.
Preventing Running Injuries
Chris Ledford serves as a firefighter for the City of Fort Worth in Texas. Focused on protecting the lives of Fort Worth citizens, he protects individuals’ airway, breathing, and circulation during a variety of emergency situations. Outside of work, Chris Ledford is an avid runner and has run a 5k every month during the year 2016.
Good flexibility and strength are key parts of preventing running injuries among regular runners. Most runners know that they should stretch before a run, but maintaining and improving overall flexibility takes that even further. It strengthens the joints and ligaments and helps the body better handle sudden movements that might otherwise result in injury. Meanwhile, runners are known for having strong legs, but their muscles are toned specifically for the act of running. If runners work on strengthening their legs and upper body, they provide additional support to their joints. Strength training also can decrease a runner’s risk of a pulled or strained muscle.
Beyond strength and flexibility training, runners should always stay aware of their limits and listen to their body. Being aware of one’s limits allows runners to take a break in their training before an injury occurs. Although some runners dislike taking breaks, a few days off is better than the several weeks that may be necessary for some injuries. Similarly, runners have a habit of running through pain they are experiencing. While some pain is okay, persistent pain may be an early sign of an upcoming injury. For runners who routinely have a problem with pain, they can consider shortening their stride to lessen the impact on their legs and knees.
Good Running Form
A firefighter by profession, Chris Ledford of Fort Worth, Texas, enjoys running in his free time. Chris Ledford of Fort Worth, Texas, has challenged himself to run a 5K every month and has run more than 348K already in 2016.
To run effectively and safely, an athlete needs to maintain proper form. The foundation of good form is a strong posture with a slight forward lean from the ankles. The head should stay level and the stride smooth. If this part of the runner’s form is correct, he or she will feel minimal bouncing with each stride.
A good runner’s stride is short and quick. The body stays over the hips, which center over the knees and feet. This helps the runner to avoid hitting the ground heel first, a habit that inhibits good propulsion. Runners who have developed a heel strike can often correct this habit by running in bare feet for 20 seconds to a minute, as this allows the body to rediscover its natural stride.
The runner must always take care to keep the knees in line with the feet. The elbows should remain bent at an angle of 90 degrees or less, and the hands need to stay relaxed. The hands should also always be held below the chest and must not cross the body’s mid-line, as over-crossing can pull the body out of line. In general, a sense of being straight and relaxed helps the runner to maintain good form.