Cushing Firefighters were “in the pink” Tuesday as they served at the annual Cushing Regional Hospital Foundation Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon.  

CRH Foundation director Marian Gilkerson said it was Fire Chief Brent Kerr’s idea to serve at the fundraiser.  “He called me,” Gilkerson said.  “The Cushing Fire Department serves the community – and here they are serving again – that’s what they do.”

In a recent interview on KUSH, Kerr said they wanted to do something for a couple of reasons.  “We are so grateful to the Foundation for their support and fundraising to help put our guys through paramedic training,” Kerr said.  “We thought this would be a way we could show that gratitude.” 

The other reason?

“I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been touched by breast cancer some way,” he said.  “A mother, a sister, a wife, a grandmother – we all know someone.”

The firefighters had special pink shirts made to wear throughout the week to show their support.

“It takes a real man to wear pink,” Kerr quipped on the Donna and Molly Show last week – and Tuesday they proved it.

The firefighters in pink continued to be a “hot topic” at the luncheon when a special edition of the first ever Cushing Firefighters calendar went up for auction.

Prior to the start of the bidding war, CRH Foundation president LeRoy Kalka gave only a glimpse of what was inside the 18 month calendar put together by B&C Business Products, Linda Lee and KUSH Girls, Donna and Molly.

“You’ve all heard about the New York City firefighters calendar,” Kalka teased, “well now we have the CUSHING firefighters calendar – 18 months of them!”

Bidding rose quickly as firefighters walked through the crowd – giving the ladies a good look and broad smiles.  SPI took the calendar home with the highest bid of $425.  In a show of generosity, Cindy O’Kelley from Enbridge added an additional $200 to the total, making the calendar the top bid item of the day at $625.

Another highlight of the luncheon – special speaker Dr. Renee Bassett Willis.  Dr. Willis expressed her amazement regarding the fundraiser saying, “We don’t have anything like this in Stillwater!”
Having grown up learning about medicine from her father, the well-known Dr. Bassett, it is no wonder she is a doctor herself.  Dr. Willis specializes in breast cancer surgery in Stillwater.

“It is a pleasure to be here and see so many familiar faces,” Dr. Willis said before sharing important facts about breast cancer.

Perhaps the most poignant – and definitely one of the most important parts of the luncheon – was the recognition of the survivors.  As Susan Kemp sang “then a hero comes along…” those winning or still fighting the battle against breast cancer were escorted to the front of the room, one by one by the firefighters.

“We honor you,” Gilkerson said.

For more information on breast cancer, go to www.nationalbreastcancer.org. 

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