Controversy over shirts being worn for good cause at local fire department

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 30 at 11:04 PM

(KMOV) – Firefighters in the Monarch Fire Protection District will not be able to wear custom pink shirts while on duty during their annual fundraiser to benefit breast cancer awareness month.

This year, board members for the district banned the shirts sold by the firefighters to benefit breast cancer awareness month.  Firefighters there were told they could be in big trouble if they wore specially-designed t-shirts to work.

For the past five years, they've sold and worn t-shirts that have raised thousands of dollars for cancer awareness and research organizations; but this year, they were told they could not.

"It's disappointing and I think it's real insensitive,” said firefighter Andy Stecko.

Stecko will still proudly wear his pink t-shirt, but only off firehouse grounds.

"We can't wear our shirts on duty, we will follow that order, we will abide that order,” Stecko said.

Stecko thinks there's an explanation: politics.

“It's an anti-firefighter agenda, it's an anti-union agenda,” he said.

News 4’s Lauren Trager reached out to two of the three district board members who opposed the T-shirts this year.

Newly elected member Jane Cunningham told News 4 she voted against wearing the shirts because the chief didn't give a formal presentation about what they were for.

“We could tell that (they were supporting breast cancer awareness) but we didn't know anything else, I just thought it was something the Monarch people were doing on that their own,” Cunningham said.

Stecko says they'll now simply take the cause to the streets.

“We are firefighters, we don't stop for much,” Stecko said.

In fact, he says he hopes the set-back simply helps them raise even more money this year.

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