For the third year in a row, Howard County firefighters will wear pink shirts during the month of October to raise breast cancer awareness.
All professional firefighters will sport the shirts around stations, under their gear, or while they're out in the community, according to Rich Ruehl, president of IAFF Local 2000, the Howard County firefighters' union.
"We've had several members of our organization that have either themselves been diagnosed with cancer or their family members have been diagnosed with breast cancer," said Ruehl. "We wanted to do something to raise awareness."
"In large part, most people think of firefighters, men and women, as very strong, well-intentioned people who have strong character," added Ruehl. "And if you see a firefighter who you think of in that way, wearing a pink shirt, that tends to get people to notice."
Ruehl said that many firefighters' unions take part in October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities for a day or a week, but in Howard County they decided in 2010 to do it for a whole month.
The local union is selling t-shirts and other breast cancer awareness apparel on their website to raise funds for two breast cancer charities—the Red Devils, which helps Marylanders with breast cancer, and Cleaning for a Reason, a national organization that cleans the homes of women with breast cancer.
Ruehl said this year's efforts are being organized by Joe and Stacy Gouldin.