You may see crowds in pink at sporting events, athletes clad in pink and coworkers donning pink in the workplace as part of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
But one place there won’t be a pink out is the Grand Island Fire Department, even though firefighters there have created a pink breast cancer awareness shirt.
Firefighters on duty are forbidden from wearing the pink shirt.
Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt said October is also Fire Prevention Month, and having firefighters in their regular uniforms is important during educational talks to schoolchildren and the public.
“People identify our crews with a certain uniform, and we haven’t decided to make that change,” Schmidt said. “In future years, with support and a growing awareness of the program, we hope to make that change.”
However, Grand Island City Administrator Mary Lou Brown said a change, even in the future, is unlikely.
“There would have to be a general policy of who we’re going to support and that would be quite the conversation,” she said.
“We can’t choose to support one nonprofit over another, because there’s no way we can support all of them,” Brown said. “We support the United Way activities that are underway right now and that is the only nonprofit that we officially support as the city.”
The city does let staff members wear colored shirts on select days — specifically, they wear red on Fridays to show support for military troops.
“The red shirt is a patriotic activity — it’s not supporting one organization or another,” Brown said.
“It’s hard,” she said. “We all are touched by someone who has had breast cancer. It would be wonderful to be able to do something different, but once we start down the path of doing one thing for one, then it’s the next one, and the next one, and the next one.”