Monarch Firefighters “Pink Heals” Campaign to Promote Cancer Awareness is Back on Track

Firefighters and Paramedics Will Wear Pink T-Shirts with ID Badges and Union Logo for Charitable Campaign

OCTOBER 3, 2013, Chesterfield, Missouri… Monarch Fire Protection District firefighters and paramedics will wear pink T-shirts showing their union logo along with Monarch ID badges during October’s “Pink Heals” cancer awareness campaign after resolving disputes with the Monarch Board of Directors, which last week forbade them from wearing “Pink Heals” T-shirts while on duty in October.

Andrew T. Stecko is 3rd District Vice President & Shop Steward (Monarch Shop) Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri Local 2665. Stecko said, “We extend deepest thanks and sincere appreciation to the citizens we serve for their many public displays of support, appreciation and encouragement as we strived to get this dispute behind us so we can continue our service mission as first responders and community supporters.”

At a meeting on September 24, Monarch Board President Robin Harris and Secretary Jane Cunningham chose to forbid firefighter/paramedics from wearing the T-shirts while on duty because they the insignia of Local 2665 and, also, the ”Pink Heals” campaign was considered discriminatory against men. Their decision to ban the “Pink Heals” T-Shirts for firefighters and paramedics on duty outraged citizens who began posting protests on Facebook and other social media. TV, radio, newspapers and Internet websites began chronicling the protests daily, generating national coverage of the issue.

“We believe community protest of the Board’s decision and vocal support for our Firefighters and Paramedics from hundreds of local citizens, as well local and national media coverage, could not be ignored by the Monarch Board members and influenced their decision to reverse their T-shirt ban and allow our Firefighters and Paramedics to wear ‘Pink-Heals; T-shirts showing our union logo and clip-on ID badge,” says Stecko.  “We and many voters and taxpayers believe this incident is an embarrassment for the Monarch Board members who voted for the ban. We are glad the issue is being put to rest.”

“This October marks the fifth year that Monarch firefighters, paramedics, officers and staff join fire departments around the U.S., trading our traditional fire department polo shirts for bright pink uniform T-shirts,” added Stecko, noting that Monarch firefighters and paramedics have personally bought  more than 450 “Pink Heals” T-shirts this year to wear and give to friends.

“Each year, members of Monarch Firefighters Local 2665 have worn and sold T-shirts to help raise awareness, support and charitable funds for local women battling cancer.  This year our efforts were stymied by the Board decision to forbid wearing pink T-shirts while on duty, but extraordinary public support and nationwide media coverage of the issue helped inspire the Board to change its decision yesterday,” Stecko said. “Throughout this year’s month-long campaign, Monarch fire trucks will display pink Cancer Awareness flags and we will sell as many ‘Pink Heals” T-shirts as possible to raise money for the cause,” he added.

Monarch Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Shoop, Staff Representative, Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri, IAFF Local 2665, said, “’Pink Heals T-shirts are $20 each and can be ordered by emailing MFCOshirts@yahoo.com or by contacting Monarch Firefighters and Paramedics via our website at  http://www.monarchfirefighters.org. This year, Monarch Firefighters’ proceeds from T-shirt sales will be donated to The Life and Hope Fund at Chesterfield’s  St. Luke's Hospital .The Life and Hope Fund helps patients with cancer or malignant blood disorders who are in need of medical supplies and services not covered by insurance.

“The Monarch campaign is modeled after the ‘Pink Heals Campaign’ started by Firefighter Dave Graybill of Phoenix, Arizona,” Shoop said. “His organization, known as ‘The Pink Heals Tour,’ travels nationwide in pink fire trucks to visit cancer patients and survivors. His fire trucks are covered with signatures of survivors and family members honoring those who have battled all types of cancer.  All money from ‘The Pink Heals Tour’ fund-raising local campaigns stays in the fire departments communities the tour visits.

“Following this model,” Shoop continued, “Monarch Firefighters have raised more than $6,000 in recent years and donated to charities including Bridging the Gap Emergency Breast Cancer Fund; Camp Rainbow; and No Woman Left Behind. We are very pleased to support The Life and Hope Fund at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield this year.”

For more information, contact Firefighters/Paramedics Andrew T. Stecko at 636 368  6123, Chris Gelven at 314 494 7832 or Andrew Shoop at 636-278-0279. Additional information is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PinkHealsTour or visit the Monarch Firefighters on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MonarchFirefighters or Twitter at https://twitter.com/MonarchOutreach. Information about The Life and Hope Fund is available at www.stlukes-stl.com/development/life-hope.html.




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