Perry Firefighter Trains for International Competition

PERRY, Ga.-- The City of Perry Fire Department is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The guys at the firehouse say it's like a family.

One of their family members has another life outside of fighting fires.

"It's pretty amazing," said Chief Joel Gray. "I mean he is in the blocks and then he's gone. If you're not paying attention, you've missed it."

Jerod Wims is a sprinter and trains six days a week to stay in shape for the toughest competition.

Wims ran track at Auburn University in college and is still close with his coach.

"He heads up my workouts," explained Wims. "He sends them every week. He's just that outside guy that always keeps me in check with my workouts and everything. Even if he's not physically here, he's calling."

Jerod recently returned from Trinidad and Tobago. Wims won gold in the 4x400, 200 meters and 100 meters. He brought home a bronze in the 4x100.

"I ran one of the fastest 400 times I've run in my life. This early, I'm amazed," said Wims. "I'm a little surprised. My last race was on a grass track and I almost ran a personal best. Just on a grass surface with no traction or anything."

Wims balances 24-hour shifts at the firehouse and staying in shape. On top of all that, he has another job: coach.

"I had heard people in the school saying that we have an olympic track runner go down there and practice at our field," explain Windsor Academy student-athlete Dylan Barecky.

"He came up to me one day while I was training out there on the back field and he asked," recalled Wims.

It took three days, but that next Saturday Jerod and Dylan started their training. Wims also works with Susie Gibson, a sprinter for the Windsor girls track team.

"He really wants us to win and stuff," explained Gibson. "He's out here everyday with us making sure we do it right."

Since working with Jerod, Susie and Dylan are now two of the top sprinters in the GISA.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to represent the United States at the Olympics.

"Times that I see other people run from other countries at their trials, won't get you to the Olympics for the U.S., not at all. Not even close. They won't even make the finals at the U.S.A. trials," said Wims.

Jerod will return to Trinidad and Tobago on May 10 for another race. The number one sprinter from the U.S. is scheduled to be there.


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