AFA Athletes

The AFA Athletes are a group of individuals that reflect the ideals and spirit of American Fire Apparel. We are proud to sponsor these dedicated athletes.

Adam Evans

I have been a Combat Challenge competitor since 1997 and have made 8 appearances at the World Challenge. I recently became a member of the prestigious "Lion's Den" and have a P.R. of 1:44.

I am a Driver/Engineer for the Arlington Fire Department in Arlington Texas and have been with department since 1999. I currently work at Fire Training and am a instructor for our recruit schools and PT program.

I am happily married to my biggest fan (Deedee), and have three kids (Kayleigh 21), (Dylan 18), and (Corbin 10). I am honored to be a part of such a great company and great group of athletes.


Dean "Deano" Gillen

Dean “Deano” Gillen is the hard-hitting middleweight World Police & Fire-Fighter Games 2013 amateur Gold Champion, from Nottingham England. Following this success, he has recently signed as a professional boxer under Carl Greaves promotions UK, who was the winner of WBF World title and twice challenger for the British super featherweight titles. He is now looking to achieve all he can within the professional boxing arena.

Having worked hard at college, he landed his dream job as a Firefighter in the UK Fire and Rescue Service in 2004 when he was just 21 years of age. He recognizes that fitness is part and parcel of the job, and having a keen interest in health and fitness has helped. Deano has trained as a physical training instructor within the UK Fire Service, and has been a PTI on his Watch for 10 years. In doing so, has helped promote the Fire Services values on health and fitness.

The training required in order to become a professional boxer, has been tough. Especially as Deano also balances this commitment to training while working shifts and looking after his family, who include his partner Emma, who is a nurse/midwife and his 3 daughters Lauren 14, Katie 12 and Chloe 7, who all keep him on his toes!

Deano says,

"I am very fortunate to have gained sponsorship from American Fire Apparel, it really shows the Fire Service Community reaches far and wide and is like having an extended family. I feel privileged to have an American interest and to be part of the team!" Please show your support by liking my Facebook page Dean Gillen and visiting for more information. Many thanks- Deano.


Russell Krasnesky

As a 17 year veteran of the McKinney Fire Department Russell Krasnesky has set the stage in the Scott World Fire-Fighter Combat Challenge competition since 1996.  Setting and breaking personal records every year Russell not only continues to inspire fellow fireman and community members, but sets a daily example of what it truly takes to be physically prepared to do his daily duty as a fireman.  

As the reigning world record holder in the over 45 division as well as the over 40 tandem race and the 2014 Grand National Champion - Krasnesky has created the standard to follow!  Supported by dedicated sponsors, team and most importantly his family he gives both his time and experience to training himself as well as his fellow challenge teammates.   The team led by Russell, became an official nonprofit in 2010, giving hours of community service and donations back to the local community in the names of their sponsors.  

As mentioned Russell's biggest fans are his family.  But unannounced to many Russell also serves as a military spouse doing one of the toughest jobs in our Nation by supporting his wife Danielle - an active duty Army Officer through deployments by caring for their family.  Their 3 children Ashlynn (18) Warren (8) Kylah (5) and Baby K (Arriving October 2015!) are a true testament to the dedication this family has to their community and this nation.   

Selena Laniel

Selena Laniel was born and raised in Montreal, Canada and moved to the United States in 2003. She joined the Fire Service Family 3 years ago and proudly serves the City of San Diego as a Firefighter.

She has been a competitive athlete most of her life. Around 18 y/o Acrobatics took over her life and she began performing all over the world which included: Africa, Bermuda, Canada, China, Europe, Mexico, Singapore, and across the United States. She performed in bungee/trapeze shows, tumbling, trampoline, Chinese poles, stilt walking, diving and became a professional high diver, diving from heights of 80’ into a 10’ deep pool. She does not perform full-time any more due to her commitment to the Fire Service and her family, she now performs thanks to contractual work that still allows her to travel and explore the world.

She is also known for her appearances on American Ninja Warrior (ANW). Selena was one of the original four females to compete in the finals in Las Vegas Season 4, at the time she took the top female spot. Season 5 she had to pass on competing in order to finish her training in the San Diego Fire Rescue Academy. She returned as one of the chosen 100 to compete in Venice, CA Season 6 and 7. Out of all 100 competitors per region, Selena was selected amongst the selected few that got full athletic profiles for Season 4 and 6. She is now training in the hopes of competing on Season 8.

With the popularity of ANW, she filmed a spin off for Esquire called ‘Team Ninja Warrior’ with all of ANW’s best athletes. She was part of an all fire team “Towers of Power” consisting of Firefighters from across the country.

Selena is a single mother of two daughters (Alicia 14 and Maya 12). She fills her spare time with supporting her kids in their athletic endeavors (soccer and gymnastics), running full or half marathons, obstacle races and traveling the United States to compete in ‘Ninja’ competitions.

Caroline Martin

My name is Caroline Martin. I am a 38-year-old Fire Engineer and Paramedic at the Columbia Fire Department in South Carolina. I have competed for 4 years with the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge reaching goals of joining the elite Lion’s Den in 2014 and earning the title of Female Grand National Champion for 2013 and 2014. 2015 was a successful year with a personal best time of 2:55 ranking me 10th fastest female in the world. I have big goals I look forward to crushing in the upcoming season.

My passion is firefighter health and wellness. Professional goals for 2016 include furthering my career with instructor and officer courses and obtaining peer fitness certification to further assist my department in meeting their health and wellness goals. Outside of work I enjoy running with my lab Stryker, lots of gym time, scuba diving, and photography.

I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my amazing family. My husband Shawn is a retired infantry first sergeant. He is currently building his gunsmith business. I have a 15-year-old daughter, Taylor, who is a Junior Olympic air and sport pistol competitor. She also enjoys playing soccer and played football this year for her high school as their kicker. I couldn’t be more proud of my family!

I am very excited to join American Fire Apparel and this amazing group of athletes. I admire the dedication, drive, and desire to improve health and fitness throughout the fire service and all those we come in contact with. Train hard and best wishes!

Clarence Parks

Clarence Parks has competed in the World Finals of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge since 2007 and has won many awards. In 2008, he was selected Rookie of the Year at the World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2010 he was inducted into FFCC Lion’s Den in Myrtle Beach, SC. and in 2013 he finished 2nd in the Fire Chiefs Division in Las Vegas.

Clarence Parks served as a member of Northeast 1 Regional Response Team from 2004 until 2006. This service included a tour of duty during Hurricane Katrina.

Clarence Parks has served in all three Instructional Bureaus for the Mississippi Fire Academy which includes the coordination of programs such as: NFPA 1002 D/O/Pumping-Aerial, NFPA 1006 I-II, NFPA 1521, NFPA 1001 I-II and advanced firefighting activities. He has held the title and position of Fire Chief for the Moss Point Fire Department, and in less than a year, under the leadership of Chief Parks, the Moss Point Fire Dept. was named the Fire Department of the Year by the MS Burn Foundation in 2013 for life saves/ rescues during Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

Clarence is married with four children. He has three boys (19yo, and twins that are 14yo) and one girl (16 yo). In addition to the Combat Challenge, he runs 5K's (in full gear) for his favorite charities, Susan B Coleman (Breast Cancer Awareness) and Autism Awareness.


Joe Queen

Proud to be the newest addition to an incredible group of athletes representing this quality company, Joe Queen is a rookie to the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge in the 2015 season. He qualified for the World Championships in his first race with a 1:48, reached the Lion’s Den in his second race, and has a current personal best of 1:39. Joe looks to heat it up in just his 4th race at the 2015 World Challenge!

Queen got a start in the combat challenge thanks to fellow AFA teammate, Chief and Instructor Clarence Parks. They compete in the tandem event together and he also leads a relay team from his home department. They became an official non-profit in 2015 dedicated to raising awareness & providing information to departments nationwide about Line of Duty Deaths related to cardiac events and how to implement fitness and wellness programs in their departments.

Joe has been serving as a Firefighter/EMT for the Flowood Fire Department (MS) since 2013. He is a certified rescue diver and currently pursuing Peer Fitness Trainer & CSCS certifications. Queen also serves on the on the Rankin County Emergency Operations Response Team and the Mid Mississippi Strike Team.

Queen previously competed as a 3-time All-SEC Decathlete for Mississippi State University and was the 2007 SEC Championships Bronze Medalist in the Decathlon. After a strength & conditioning internship with the Louisiana Tech University football team, Joe spent 5 years as a high school anatomy & physiology teacher and Head Track & Field coach winning 3 state championships, coaching the 2010 Girls Nike Nationals Team, 16 Division I scholarship athletes and 8 overall state record holders.

Joe is married to his beautiful wife Kristen and they have two children, Kennedy (3) and Walker (1). Joe says he is “humbled to have the opportunity to represent a company that stands on the well respected characteristics of the fire service and prides itself on quality and doing the right thing.”

Jeff Vater

I'm 25 years old from Cincinnati Ohio. I grew up an athlete playing football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball and continued with football and volleyball through high school. I obtained my associates degree at a local community college in firefighting.

I am currently certified as a firefighter/medic. I worked part time at several different departments for 3 years before landing my dream job with Cincinnati Fire Department in May of 2014.

I am into staying in shape and staying active. I have been into Crossfit ever since I started competing in the FFCC. I've been competing at the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge since 2008, with a PR of 1:35. I reached the Lions Den back in 2012. My ultimate goal is to run under 1:30.

In my free time I enjoy playing in softball leagues, watching the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals play, and continue to put time and effort into my training to reach my goals.

I am excited to be apart of American Fire Apparel and to sponsor their products and what they stand for to the best of my ability.

Philip Washburn

I'm active duty Air Force (15 years) and I have been in the fire service since 2002. I began competing in the Combat Challenge in 2012 after just kind of toying around with some work out with the guys. Needless to say I was addicted to it. 

My wife Jennifer and 3 daughters (Kaylee, Brooke, and Mia) have been by my side every step of the way through every deployment, assignment and every competition. I've been stationed in various places around the world such as multiple stateside bases, Honduras twice and Germany.  

My family and I have now made our home at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas Nevada. Where I hope to finish out my military career, maybe!

I recently suffered an injury that pretty much sidelined me for a while and I made a comeback run in Ontario California, where I didn’t do so well, but it felt absolutely amazing to be back out there among teammates and fellow firefighters around the world.

I look forward to giving everything I have to this company and hope I can represent it as well as they expect myself to do so.

Chris Zach

Chris Zach is a 32 year old Master Firefighter in Virginia Beach who has been a firefighter for the past 14 years. He is currently a driver operator and ladder operator on one of the busiest engines in Virginia Beach. He is also a peer fitness trainer for his department.

The family values, goals and brotherhood of the fire service course deep within his blood. His great great grandfather was an active firefighter professional in 1916 and some of his first memories were hanging around the firehouse in Sayreville, NJ. His father was a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years as well as the lead fire instructor at Middlesex County Fire Academy.

Chris grew up playing competitive junior hockey in Connecticut for a short time before a knee injury sidelined his hockey career. It was at this point he realized the importance of dedicated training. He has been competing in the firefighter combat challenge since 2012 and his competitive times continue to improve. Last season his personal record was 2:13 and this season he improved with a run of 1:53 run. His goal for next season is to conquer the Lions Den under 1:40.

Chris has an amazing family support system in Virginia Beach.  His brother Scott got hired by the Virginia Beach Fire Dept in 2009. “I couldn't do what I do without them, my fire service family or my amazing girlfriend Roxy, "AKA" my partner in crime"- Chris.  He is excited to excel as an American Fire Apparel professional and athlete. Chris is looking forward to representing the values of our company and all we stand for.   

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