Group of Huntington firefighters lose over 1,200 of combined pounds after surgery
A group of firefighters at one Huntington firehouse worked together to lose weight.
Several firefighters say they used to weigh 300 pounds or more and now they are half the weight they used to be.
Huntington Manor Fire Chief Chuck Brady lost 154 pounds, 911 dispatcher and volunteer Tyler Gibbs lost 145 pounds and volunteer firefighter Jon Hoffman lost 125 pounds.
In total, nine volunteer firefighters from the firehouse lost a total of 1,200 pounds, the approximate weight of four full-size refrigerators.
They all underwent bariatric procedures by Dr. David Buchin, a weight loss and bariatric surgeon in Huntington.
"We started the first responders initiative basically to save the life of the life savers," Buchin says.
He has performed more than 100 weight loss surgeries for local first responders, which is paid through their own insurance.
Buchin says the Huntington firefighters were dealing with risky health conditions.
Brady says despite getting laparoscopic sleeve surgery six years ago, it continues to be a challenge to keep weight off.
"Anyone that think it's just something that's an easy fix by going in for surgery is completely wrong," Brady says. "You have to work at it."
Other firefighters say that the surgery helped make their work easier and was an answer to Hoffman's prayer.
"You still have to eat right, still have to go to the gym and lift weights, still doing cardio, you still have to work at it," Hoffman says. "It's an everyday battle."
A majority of the firefighters say they have hit their goal weight and are maintaining it.