New York man helps others as a COVID-19 frontline worker and weight-lifting trainer

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ELMIRA, New York (WETM/KETK) James Storch is a world renowned weightlifter and a COVID-19 frontline worker, and he is sharing one of his passions with others.

Storch, 54, is a respiratory therapist by day at Schuyler Hospital, and he is a professional weight-lifting athlete at night.

He has been weight-lifting since 1979.

“I’ve wanted to do it for as long as I can remember, I remember being 6 years old, watching the 72 Olympics on TV and saying to my parents, I want to do that,” said Storch.

40 years later, and he’s one of the top weightlifters in the world.

Although Storch has countless medals, plaques and trophies, one stands above the rest.

“In the same calendar year, you have to win the US Masters Nationals. The world championships, the pan am’s encompassing the western hemisphere of the world. That’s an international equity, and the new American Masters.” Storch said.

Storch said he enjoys what he does at his job too.

He was one of the few health care professionals that went and helped on the front line of the fight against COVID-19 in New York City in April.

“I’m a respiratory therapist. We help people breathe,” said Storch. “Not being able to breathe is no joke. The best part of my job is seeing somebody improve. The worst part is, as a therapist, we’re part of the code team, and they don’t always make it. It’s part of life, but you have to deal with it.

He uses the gym to cope with everything he sees at his job, and now Storch is using his passion for weight-lifting to help make future generations just as strong.

“This sport really pushes me to try to be the best and to have to get better and improve every single time I do it, and that’s what Jim Storch helps me with the most, said Kiersten Hafer who trains with Storch.

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