Police, fire departments show support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Matt Buedel GateHouse Media Illinois

A new color will join the palette that usually identifies public safety officials in October: Pink will mix with red, blue and various reflective hues.

Firefighters in Peoria and police officers in two nearby villages will don pink to raise awareness of breast cancer and various groups working to find a cure for the disease. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“We want to show our support in recognition of this devastating disease,” said Tony Ardis, president of Peoria Firefighters Local 50.

Firefighters will wear pink rescue shirts for the month and are exploring the possibility of a fundraiser to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

“It’s just meant to bring awareness — virtually every family in the world has been affected by this disease,” Ardis said.

Police in Bartonville will express the same support through badges with pink lettering that promotes breast cancer awareness. Officers will wear the badges for the month of October.

“Everybody has friends or family, or knows other law enforcement personnel, who have had this,” Chief Brian Fengel said. “We wanted to make a commemorative badge our officers could wear for the month.”

Officers in Chillicothe will take a different approach. For the second time, officers will wear pink uniform shirts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to promote awareness and publicize a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The department will serve “arrest warrants” to volunteers on Oct. 24 and let them out of jail after they post a $100 donation. Those who participate also will be recognized that night at the last Illinois Valley Central home football game of the season.

Chillicothe officers in the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 247 sponsored the fundraiser for the first time last year and raised nearly $4,000. Union president Nick Bridges said the goal for this year is to raise more than $4,000 — and let the pink uniform shirts help start a conversation about breast cancer.

“It went really well last year,” Bridges said. “Even people we arrested were asking about it — that’s spreading awareness right there.”