Pigeon Forge firefighters take the "Chief's Challenge"

(WBIR) It's a challenge that Pigeon Forge Firefighters are taking seriously and it could save lives. Even the lives of the firefighters.

Fire Chief Tony Watson challenged his fire department as well as others to a weight loss challenge.

He said it's about changing a lifestyle and lowering the concerns of cardiac arrest among firefighters.

It all started in a Rotary Club meeting, when Watson created the "Chief's Challenge."

Each participant threw $20 in to a pot and the person who sees the biggest health improvement will get to give that money to a charity of his or her choice.

"I have always made my life about saving folks. It's a little different way for it... it's a different spin. But it's about the community. It's about the people out there," said Watson.

And he's looking for results himself. Not only for his health, but to show his firefighters he can make a change.

"The best leader you can have is a leader that shows by example," said firefighter Peter Griffioen.

It's a challenge that Watson has faced for most of his life. And it took the support of his friends and peers to charge forward along with his inner drive.

"I was a little scared about it to be honest with you. But I thought about if it could help one person, then it was worth doing it. And it holds me a lot more accountable," said Watson.

Watson pushes forward with more than 20 others joining along. From firefighters, to his own family.

"Not only does it put us with that motivation to stay up with him, but I think it would just be good for the department as a whole," said Griffioen. Good for the department, and good for Watson. So he can make it past the challenge and be there for many more life goals and challenges.

"I have been fire chief for seven years," said Watson. "And I love doing what I am doing.I want to be around for both my children. My daughter is just now expecting. So I want to watch that grand-baby grow up and that's very important that we make some changes."


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