Firemen in new Breast Cancer t-shirts

Pocatello firefighters, from left, Chris Soloman, Kendall Dean and John McKnight wear new breast cancer awareness T-shirts.

POCATELLO — Pocatello firefighters are wearing pink and raising funds for prevention during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

The effort is part of the International Association of Fire Fighters’ (IAFF) Pink T-Shirt Campaign.

Chris Solomon, a captain with the Pocatello Fire Department and a member of IAFF 187, the local union, says breast cancer has affected some of their firefighters along with their family members and friends. And it’s something they deal with in their ambulance service.

“It does hit home,” Solomon said. “It’s part of the job we deal with every day. It’s pretty important to me and all the guys to support this and try to get people to get in and get checked if they have any concerns.”

IAFF 187 has been participating in the Pink T-Shirt Campaign for roughly a decade, said Solomon, who designs the shirts for their local union.

Although this year’s shirt is actually gray, it features a flag with pink ribbons instead of stars and pink stripes. The word “FIGHT” replaces one of the stripes.

Falling Rock Productions in Pocatello helps with the artwork and prints the shirts at cost, Solomon said.

The Pocatello firefighters have Fire Chief David Gates' permission to wear the shirts as part of their uniform on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month, Solomon said.

“The department helps us and allows us to participate in (the campaign),” he said, adding that the chief and office staff wear the shirts as well.

IAFF 187 has printed 500 shirts and made them available to the community.

Solomon said they joined forces with Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello this year, providing shirts during the hospital’s Brake For Breakfast event on Oct. 2.

That event reminds women to perform monthly self-breast exams, schedule routine clinical breast exams and get yearly mammograms once they’ve reached their 40s, according to a hospital news release.

Solomon said they sold enough shirts during that event to raise $5,000, and there are still a limited number available at the hospital’s gift shop.

The short-sleeve shirts cost $20, although Solomon says people are really giving a $20 donation to a good cause and getting a free shirt for their contribution. Some long-sleeve shirts are also available for $25.

All of the proceeds from the campaign will be donated to the hospital’s cancer foundation, which provides things like free mammograms for women who may not be able to afford a screening, Solomon said.

Solomon hopes their efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer this month will remind people of the importance of preventive efforts.

“If anybody has any concerns, we would encourage them to get a mammogram and go get it checked,” he said.