It was something of a pink-out in front of the main Arlington Heights fire station last week.
Members from nearly all of the village departments, as well as firefighters from its three stations -- all wearing pink T-shirts -- gathered in front of one of the fire trucks for a photo opp.
They stood with a banner produced by the Arlington Heights Firefighters and International Association of Firefighters, Local 3105, that declared: "Proud to Wear Pink."
Increasingly, emergency personnel are getting involved in the fight against breast cancer. In August, Mount Prospect police came out to enthusiastically support the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk, just as they do every year.
Meanwhile, Barrington and Lake Zurich firefighters wore pink in a music video produced by staff members at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.
The 4-minute "Pink Glove Dance" was produced in partnership with Medline and if enough Facebook voters chime in, it stands to win $10,000, which hospital officials have pledged to contribute to the Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization.
Last summer, the Buffalo Grove Fire Department hosted the Pink Heals tour of neon pink fire trucks through the village, allowing residents to sign and pledge their support.
That event sparked the interest of Ted Peterson, the Arlington Heights firefighter/paramedic who helped orchestrate his department's role during "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" throughout October, but he wanted to keep their efforts local.
"This is the first time our department has ever done this," says Peterson, who also spearheaded the Boot Drive to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. "I'm thrilled with the support from the village and the community."
They began selling the pink T-shirts at the Mane Event in early August in downtown Arlington Heights. Proceeds will benefit the "Gift a Mammogram" program at Northwest Community Hospital's Breast Center.
Christine Masonick, Breast Program manager, says the Gift a Mammogram provides free mammograms to women in the community who find themselves without insurance. It is supported entirely by charitable gifts.
"Here are these firefighters, who are big strong guys providing funds for early breast cancer detection," Masonick said. "These masculine guys are husbands, sons and fathers stepping up to support women in their lives, and for this we at Northwest Community Hospital are very appreciative."
As of last week, Peterson said they had sold nearly 500 T-shirts, but he hopes to sell more at the fire department's open house on Saturday, Oct. 15, which draws 1,500 people.
The open house is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Fire Station No. 2, 1150 N. Arlington Heights Road. Families in attendance also can sign the banner, which firefighters will present to the Cancer Center at Northwest Community Hospital next week.
All last week, the firefighters wore the shirts, as did many of the village employees. Registered nurses with the Health Services department wore them earlier this month at the flu shot clinic at the Arlington Heights Senior Center and they will be wearing them next week at the immunization clinic at the village hall.
"It's nice to get everyone on board with this," said Arlington Heights Fire Chief Glenn Erickson at the photo shoot. "It's good for the department morale, and it's good for the community."