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On December 15th 1972 the Ventnor City Fire Department was called to a fire at a high rise building. While searching for an occupant of the fourth floor apartment, Firefighter Kenneth Wayland, was cut off from exiting the apartment by fire. With no alternative way out, he was forced to a window, eventually having no option but to jump. Most tragically, the occupant had self evacuated prior to fire department arrival and failed to properly notify building staff.
On December 20th, 1972 Firefighter Wayland passed away as a result of his injuries. He was just 35 years old.
In early 2000, the Ventnor City Firefighters FMBA Local 38 was asked to take over the operation of the Run that had been held in Ventnor City for many years on Memorial Day Weekend. Although the task of staging the Run would be challenging, it was felt that this would be a great opportunity to memorialize the sacrifice of Firefighter Wayland. The Run was named the Kenny Wayland Memorial Run and staged by Ventnor Firefighters each year since 2000.
All proceeds from the Run provide the funding for the Scholarship Program. High school seniors, residing in the City of Ventnor and accepted at an accredited college are eligible to apply. Students are selected annually based on financial need, grades and community service. Scholarship money is deposited directly to the selected students college account to be used exclusively for education related expenses. To date, more than $65,000.00 has been awarded to over 80 Ventnor City students in memory of Firefighter Wayland.