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TVF&R firefighters think pink to fight breast cancer

Local crews wear pink T-shirts over three days in October


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - READY TO ROLL - This Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Station 35 crew in King City Is happy to support finding a cure for breast cancer: From left are firefighter John Sconce, Capt. Troy Spisla, firefighter Kody Fordyce and engineer/driver Kurt Koudelka.Toward the end of October, people who called 9-1-1 and got a response from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue might have been startled to see the crews wearing hot pink T-shirts.

Yes, TVF&R firefighters switched to pink shirts Oct. 24 to 26 in an effort to show support to those women and their families who have been impacted by breast cancer. TVF&R was personally impacted in 2008 when it lost one of its own to breast cancer - 36-year-old firefighter Randilyn Dean.

In 2010 the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) adopted a resolution encouraging its affiliates to support and develop campaigns to benefit organizations dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.

TVF&R firefighter Chris Tompkins said, "Our firefighters are very proud to be joining our brothers and sisters across the nation in the Firefighters in Pink Cancer Awareness Campaign. Because so many have been affected by this disease, the IAFF is committed to raising awareness and dollars in support of women in their fight against breast and other cancers."

Firefighters purchased their own T-shirts, and Local 1660 donated 100 percent of the proceeds to the Providence Robert W. Franz Research Center and its Breast Cancer Outreach Program, both of which have had a positive impact on several TVF&R members.

Although this is the first year that TVF&R firefighters have participated in the "go pink" program, they have a long-standing history of supporting cancer initiatives, including the annual Firefighter Stairclimb. The fundraiser benefits the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, which is dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services.

To date, TVF&R firefighters have raised almost $200,000 for this worthy cause.

"The Firefighters in Pink campaign is just one more way our members can continue to give back to the communities we serve," Thompkins added.

At TVF&R Station 35 in King City, Capt. Troy Spisla and his crew - firefighters John Sconce and Kody Fordyce plus engineer/driver Kurt Koudelka - proudly wore pink during their Oct. 25 shift.

"We're happy to support the cause," Koudelka said. "This has been done nationally by firefighters, but this is our first year. Some companies even wrapped their fire engines in pink."

According to Spisla, all the members of each crew had to agree to wear pink, and Koudelka added, "I worked yesterday with a different crew, and a Washington County deputy said to us, 'Thank you for supporting the cause.’”