ALPENA - The Alpena Township Fire Departments are stepping out of their blue uniforms and into pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The northside and southside departments are teaming up to organize a fundraiser and raise awareness of cancer. All township firefighters will wear pink shirts throughout October andsell shirts at either the southside or northside department in a campaign for breast cancer awareness.
"We were inspired by the International Association of Fire Fighters and decided to promote cancer awareness," Capt. Ken Piper said. "Cancer has hit us close to home -one of our members is currently battling it."
News Photo by Emily Siegmon
The Alpena Township southside fire department prepares for any emergency calls by reloading the truck hose.
According to Piper, almost everyone was on board right away, but he said all of the township fire fighters are looking forward to making a difference in the community.
"I heard about the fundraiser last year and really wanted to do something," he said. "I was on the IAFF website looking up information and came across the program they were promoting. This year, when we had our meeting and decided to support it."
Piper said the departments wanted to raise awareness while doing something positive in the community. The township board of trustees also supported the township fire departments efforts and passed a resolution that supports and encourages cancer awareness during its meeting.
"We're selling pink shirts at both stations and will donate proceeds to the IAFF collaboration with Susan G. Komen 'Passionately Pink for the Cure' charitable foundation, the other portion of the proceeds will be donated locally. We won't make any money here," Piper said.
According to the IAFF website, in 2011 more than 130 IAFF affiliates collaborated with "Passionately Pink for the Cure" campaign and the program collaboratively raised $89,594.60. This year, the tradition continues and Alpena residents have the chance to make a difference.
"This is an extremely large campaign, firefighters from all over are are doing this. We really wanted to get on board and get out in the community," Piper said. "Cancer has affected our team, and my family, my dad died of lung cancer. It's hard not to find someone in Alpena who has not been affected by cancer."
The township fire departments also are celebrating fire prevention week, this year's theme is Have 2 Ways Out. Both northside and southside stations will host an open house on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to kick off the event. The fire departments will provide handouts, fire safety demonstrations, hot dogs, chips, and refreshments. The firefighters also will show their gear, give away smoke alarms, and other prizes, and a smoke house will be set up at Home Depot from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
"We're hoping for a good turnout," Capt. Jim Seguin said. "We'd love to invite the public, whether you're a township, county, or city resident. We want to spread fire safety and prevent fire from happening."
The township fire departments will be open Saturday for the open house, and the firefighters will be selling pink shirts and wearing them throughout October for cancer awareness month. The shirts will be available throughout October at either southside or northside fire departments for $14 each, all proceeds will go to support the fight against breast cancer and other cancers.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.