2011-07-15 / Community

Local Firefighters Appear On Reality TV Show

By Daniel Solomon

From left, Rob Keiley, Mike Eagan and Kevin Coursey, who are competing together on ABC’s new reality TV show, “Expedition Impossible.” From left, Rob Keiley, Mike Eagan and Kevin Coursey, who are competing together on ABC’s new reality TV show, “Expedition Impossible.” When you’re flipping channels this summer, don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces. Kevin Coursey, Mike Eagan and Rob Keiley, firefighters and Rockaway natives, are competing in the new ABC reality TV show “Expedition Impossible,” which premiered on June 23 and will broadcast a total of 10 episodes, all appearing at 9 p.m. every Thursday.

The program, the brainchild of “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett, is hosted by Canadian wildlife expert David Salmoni and features 13 three-person teams racing one another through Morocco’s Sahara Desert, Atlas Mountains, and other rugged terrain. Every week, one team will be eliminated and the last group remaining will receive a grand prize of $50,000 and a Ford Explorer for each member.

Coursey, Eagan and Keiley, who work at Ladder 147 in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, are teamed up together as the “New York Firemen.” The three auditioned for the show by making a five-minute video submission and were notified in March that they had been chosen to be on the program. Before they could compete in Morocco, though, all had to be certified as capable of performing strenuous physical activities, such as rock climbing and horse-back riding.

Coursey, a Belle Harbor resident, and Keiley and Eagan, who are from Rockaway Park, explained their motivation for appearing on the show this week in an interview with The Wave. They described the program as a chance to test their abilities and explore the unknown and, in Keiley’s words, participate in “a once-in-a-lifetime excursion.”

They also detailed some of the difficulties they faced, which included dealing with different sorts of animals, adapting to the use of new muscles, living outdoors, and managing to keep comfortable in the rapidly fluctuating temperatures of the Moroccan wilds. “Sometimes,” Eagan said, “I just wanted a nice, hot meal.”

They took away a lot from “Expedition Impossible,” which was, as Keiley said, “all about experience” and were overwhelmed by the “very supportive, very excited” reaction they received here in Rockaway. “It’s not easy being a celebrity,” joked Coursey.

Now that they’re back home, Keiley, Coursey and Eagan want to use their high profiles to give back to the Rockaway community and beyond by helping others. This Thursday, they participated in a fundraiser at Epstein’s Bar in Manhattan which proceeds going towards cystic fibrosis research.

In addition, the group of firefighters say they have plans to assist Rockaway Irish Boys, a charitable organization on the peninsula. They plan in helping the charity obtain money, food and supplies which are then distributed to the needy residents of the peninsula. They’re also spending time watching “Expedition Impossible,” the episodes of which are made up of footage culled from hundreds of hours of video.

So far, the trio has done well, surviving three elimination rounds, one that included having to rappel 300 feet down a gorge. None of them, however, is allowed to say what will happen in the next seven episodes. To see if they win, you’ll just have to tune in.

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