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‘Cares enough to wear pink’

Generally, public safety officers are seen wearing blue. However, for three days in October, they will be wearing a different hue.

From Oct. 25 through Oct. 27, firefighters will be wearing pink as they participate in the “Cares Enough to Wear Pink” campaign. It is their way of supporting and spreading awareness of breast cancer.

“I think it’s great that people pull together for others they don’t even know, and [that they] care enough to help out,” Sarah Morgan, a breast cancer survivor, said.

Their efforts are a part of the nationwide “Pink Heals Tour” as it travels across America. Their website, http://www.pinkribbiontour.com, states, “We are a male dominated profession. We are supporting, caring for, and loving the most important people in our lives, the women of our communities.”

The tour consists of two fire engines and one ladder truck that are all painted pink. The trucks will be driven by firefighters and volunteers from across the nation to 30 different cities. The tour starts Sept. 12 and ends Oct. 31. The tour’s first stop in Texas will be in Tyler.

The Tyler Professional Fire Fighters Association (TPFFA) has also joined forces with the local Susan G. Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society, East Texas Medical Center, Mother Frances Hospital, Northeast Texas Health District, Carter Blood Care and the City of Tyler. They are collaborating to promote participation among businesses, schools and individuals in the citywide “Turn Tyler Pink” event on Oct. 15.

When the tour arrives, a “Turn Tyler Pink” event will be held at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15 in downtown Tyler. There will be food, activities, health information, music, free screenings and a blood drive. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink.

Last year, the Tyler Fire Department started a fundraiser selling T-shirts. It began as a fundraiser for a fellow fire fighter’s wife who was battling breast cancer. After selling around 3,800 shirts last year, organizers hope for another successful fundraiser this year.

Although pink is typically considered a feminine color, it hasn’t stopped fire department veteran Captain Mike Nipp of Fire Station #1 from participating.

“I’m proud to do it, especially for what it stands for. That’s how we show our support,” Nipp said.

Tyler Junior College students can show support, too.

“Students can show their support by wearing pink shirts. They can buy them from the Fire Department to help with raising funds or design their own,” said Steve Countryman, Tyler Fire Department Captain of Station #5 and first Vice President of the TPFFA. “Our goal is for all of Tyler to wear pink.”

For information about the involvement of Tyler Firefighters visit the TPFFA website at http://www.iaff883.org.

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