By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
If you see Commerce Firefighters decked out in pink shirts during the month of October, it’s for a good cause. The department is selling T-shirts to raise money to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Jennifer Huie Memorial Quasi Endowment at Texas A&M University-Commerce, an endowment started by University Police Department Lt. Jason Bone in memory of his sister, who passed away in 2011 due to inflammatory breast cancer.
“She was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer that usually isn’t diagnosed until it is in stage three or four,” Bone said. “A week before the died, she had a birthday party, and I was trying to think of a good birthday present for her. Her dream was to be a nurse, and I knew we were starting a nursing program at Commerce, so I thought that I could give her a present where she can help other people become nurses.”
Before her death, Jennifer began presenting seminars on inflammatory breast cancer, and Jason has picked up where she left off, working with a foundation based in Houston and becoming heavily involved in promoting awareness of the disease.
The fire department began selling T-shirts last year and sold more than 400 in 2011.
“The International Association of Firefighters has had a ‘Pink Out’ program, and as a group we came together and decided to be a part of this through our association,” Commerce firefighter Gabe Wittkopf said. “We are friends with Jason Bone, so we wanted to donate to the scholarship as well as to breast cancer research in general.”
The shirts are $15 a piece and can be purchased at the fire station or at www.commercefd.com. The firefighters will be selling the t-shirts throughout the month of October or until supplies run out, according to Wittkopf. Many local chapters of the IAF have participated in the Pink Out program, including departments in Greenville, Bonham, Wolfe City and Campbell.
“I was very touched when I heard they were going to put her initials on the t-shirts and when they chose to donate,” Bone said.
Donations to the Jennifer Huie Memorial Quasi Endowment can be sent to the Texas A&M University-Commerce Foundation P.O. Box 3425, Commerce, Texas 75429, by visiting www.jenhuie.com or by calling 903-886-5712.