Veteran Bradford County firefighter rings the bell year after cancer diagnosis

Lieutenant Jason Hersey stands with his hands above his head after ringing the bell, marking his completion of cancer treatments. (

BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been the ultimate fight for a Bradford County firefighter, and on Thursday — a year after his diagnosis — he successfully completed his treatment for cancer.

Dozens of firefighters flooded the halls Wednesday at Baptist MD Anderson to congratulate Lieutenant Jason Hersey, a 25-year veteran firefighter.

With the ringing of a small bell, Hersey marked a huge milestone, and is now cancer free.

“I couldn’t do it without all the people in this — on these stairs behind me. Family, it wouldn’t be possible without them. If it wasn’t for the grace of God, I wouldn’t be here today,” Hersey said.

Keli Moorland, his girlfriend, said her boyfriend is a quiet person, but not quiet about his resolve.

“His faith in God has just been absolutely awesome,” Moorland said. “He’s been stronger than anybody can ever be. I can’t say enough about him and how wonderful he is.”

Hersey said he had no idea everyone would be gathering to celebrate his achievement.

“That was impressive. That’s what brotherhood’s all about,” he said. “Each and every one of them will probably tell you the same thing — we’re all just one, dysfunctional family. We all do our thing, but at the end of the day, it’s all about support for each other.”

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Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.