Hoods for Heroes and the Rotary Club of Flagler County partnered to help firefighters reduce cancer risks.
Rotary Club of Flagler County President Cindy Kiel Evans didn’t realize the true dangers a firefighter faces until her first husband — the father of her daughters — was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer, after 25 years of exposure to harmful chemicals as a firefighter at Cape Kennedy.
During a presentation on Tuesday, March 26, at the Emergency Operations Center, firefighter representatives from the Flagler County and Flagler Beach departments gathered to receive new protective hoods that will block 99.9% of the harmful chemicals firefighters encounter from getting into the pores around their neck and head, said Jeff Rountree, Hoods for Heroes co-founder.
The donation is a collaboration between the Rotary Club of Flagler County and Hoods for Heroes, a nonprofit based in Orange Park that works to reduce cancer in the fire service.
The club, with a matching grant from the Rotary International Foundation, purchased 90 hoods for a total of $11,250. Additionally, Jeff Evans State Farm Agency of Palm Coast and State Farm Corporate purchased the additional hoods for $2,875, making a total of about 115 hoods.
“We’re excited that now every firefighter in Flagler County is going to be protected with these special hoods,” Evans said.
With Palm Coast Fire Chief Jerry Forte being a Rotarian, he recently had the hoods purchased for the Palm Coast Fire Department firefighters.
“All you firefighters, you have an important job, you really do,” Evans said. “I just hope that none of your children ever have to go through this with you guys and that these hoods will protect you moving forward.”
Jeff Rountree and Bill Hamilton, with Hoods for Heroes, also presented a plaque hand-crafted by a firefighter, to Evans, thanking Rotary for its support.
“We brought all the guys and girls in to show them that people actually care,” Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said after the presentation. “We just want to say thanks.”