By Andrea Cordle
State Representative Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) packed her bags and headed west in a classic 1979 Pontiac Trans Am to highlight the search for missing children.
The representative and former mayor of Grove City was a participant in the online reality series “Fireball Run Season 7, ‘All Stars and Movie Cars.’” She was part of Team Ohio and was joined by State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills).
Fireball Run is similar to “The Amazing Race,” though the prize is not money – it is helping to locate missing children. Fireball Run is an eight-day, 2,000-mile trivia game. Grossman and Anielski traveled from Longmont, Colo. to Riverside, Calif. from Sept. 20-28. Teams had to solve several clues each day in order to navigate the route, locate points of interest and score points.
Each team was assigned a missing child and had to distribute posters or pass out smaller cards with that child’s information. Each year, the series distributes 65,000 posters across the United States. It has helped to aid in 38 recoveries since 2007.
“I decided to participate in Fireball Run because children are very important to me,” said Grossman. “As a parent, I cannot imagine the tragedy of having a child become missing.”
Grossman said Team Ohio’s goal was to raise awareness about Brett Wurm, who went missing from Tiffin, Ohio when he was 8 years old.
According to the Ohio Attorney General’s website, Brett Nick Wurm has been missing since 2007. He is believed to be with his two missing brothers, Brent and Bryan Wurm. The three were reportedly abducted by their non-custodial mother, Michelle Miller-Wurm. All are still missing.
“We were extremely successful in putting the faces of many missing children out in the public in hopes that someone will see them and take appropriate action,” said Grossman.
While the main purpose was to raise awareness of missing children, participants still were able to have a true adventure.
“We were on stage coaches, in jet cockpits, in sacred Native American ruins, made tortillas and went down water slides,” said Grossman. “It was non-stop from 7:30 in the morning to when our missions were completed at the end of the day, around 9:30 at night.”
Participants made stops in several Colorado cities, Bloomfield and Gallup, N.M., Page and Mesa, Ariz., and El Centro and Riverside, Calif.
As with any adventure, there were challenges. Grossman said many times while traveling through small desert towns, cell phones and GPS did not work. The state representatives had to depend on a CB radio for communication. They even had some car trouble with their ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ inspired ride.
“Our car broke down on our first day in Walsenburg, Colo. on our way to Alamosa,” said Grossman.
Luckily for Team Ohio, other teams were nearby and helped the pair fix the car.
There were 40 teams in the series. Grossman said they were joined by Astronaut Captain Jon McBride, Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboa, World Women’s Rodeo Champion Kelly Lamimski, as well as mayors, council members and business owners.
“I took from this experience how important it is for each of us to partner together to achieve important goals,” said Grossman. “The collaboration of not only the teams who participated, but also the many towns we stopped in was remarkable.”
Grossman said this was a once in a lifetime experience.
“Every town that we stopped in, we were met with warm, caring people who share our goal of finding missing children.”
All episodes of the 2013 Fireball Run will be available at www.fireballrun.com.