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No rest for Lent
Firefighter gives up down time for training
Firefighter WEB
Forsyth County firefighter Jonathan Lent, training with a 75-pound hose, recently won “toughest firefighter” in his age group during the recent Georgia Police and Fire Games in Dalton. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

Deputies earn two medals at games

Two Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies also took home medals during the recent Georgia Police and Fire Games.

According to the agency, Sgt. Chris Shelton and Deputy Mike Nelson each placed in the motorcycle rodeo.

Shelton, who is also the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, earned silver in the expert division.

Nelson took gold in the novice division.

Deputies also competed in the softball tournament, though the Law Dawgs were “unfortunately” eliminated on the second day of the competition, according to a news release from the office.

Those who participated did so “on their own time [and] money and with help from generous sponsors,” the release states.

— Alyssa LaRenzie

Jonathan Lent will work out until he runs out of air.

The Forsyth County firefighter has about 23 to 25 minutes before his tank hits empty.

He can often be seen during his shift down time doing bear crawls, push-ups or running up and down the stairs in full gear at Station 14 on McFarland Parkway.

Staying in shape could help save a life someday, but he also practiced recently for an annual competition.

Lent took home top honors in late June from Dalton at the 28th Georgia Police and Fire Games.

Completing the Toughest Firefighter obstacle course in 2:35 won him first place in his age group (30-35) and second overall.

He said “a kid” topped his time by 4.6 seconds.

“Everything that they simulate on the course, it relates directly to firefighting,” Lent said. “These are things we do weekly, monthly for training and to stay in shape.”

The course involves climbing four flights of stairs with a 75-pound hose, then unrolling a hose by pulling it up the stairs, hammering a steel beam five feet, followed by dragging the fire hose for 100 feet.

Finally, the firefighter drags a 155-pound dummy for 50 feet to cross the finish line, which Lent said is the most difficult part of the course.

The whole time, he wears his full gear and breathes from the air tank.

The physical exertion could push even the strongest man to the brink of exhaustion, but Lent thinks positively to make it through the challenges.

“It’s short. It’s quick. It’s only two and a half minutes,” he said.

At the games, he also has the support of his family, including his 5-year-old son, who Lent said loves everything about firefighting.

Lent has competed in Carrollton and Gainesville in the past, as the games rotate location each two years.

He said he enjoys building relationships with the firefighting and law enforcement communities and the family-friendly nature of the weeklong events.

“It is a way to get out and meet new people, build community and get our department’s name out,” Lent said.

Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said Lent is on a mission to “get others to take the plunge” with him at future games.

Shivers couldn’t recall if Forsyth County had participated in past games, but nonetheless said the department was proud of Lent for his hard work.

This was Lent’s first time at the games representing the Forsyth County Fire Department, which he joined in late 2011. He started in firefighting as a volunteer in 2003.

“When I was in college, I just started volunteering in a small department,” Lent said. “I started taking calls in between classes and then really fell in love with it.”

He took a job full time as a firefighter and EMT in 2005.

Lent said he enjoys the act of service in his job, and the toughest firefighter obstacle course highlights one of those aspects.

“It’s just something that’s fun, and I enjoy the challenge,” Lent said. “It’s kind of a tradition.”