The Millet Fire Department supports the community in so many ways; fire protection, emergency medical response, vehicle extrication after an accident, rescuing kittens from trees, growing moustaches……wait…what? Moustaches? Yes, you heard right, moustaches.
A few years back, in many circles, November was renamed Mowvember to support the finding of a cure for prostate cancer. This is a fundraiser where men who normally walk around with naked faces grow a moustache to raise money for prostate cancer research. And new just this year, in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, the charity is expanding to help tackle the issue of men's mental health as well.
"The firefighting community is definitely a brotherhood, and we obviously have a desire to help others too." said Millet Firefighter Trevor Palmer, "So it was a natural thing for us to want to raise funds to try and find a cure for cancer since there is a much higher occurrence in firefighters, but the deciding factor this year was the added aspect of mental health."
"Millet is a volunteer fire department," stated Trevor, "but we face exactly the same situations as full time firefighters. However, we don't have the same coverage and help available to us as the full-timers if we have any health problems."
The Alberta Fire Fighter's Association (AFFA) notes that the occurrence of cancers are three to five times higher in firefighters than in the general population. Studies also suggest that one out of every three firefighters have some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is a major mental health issue for first responders.
"We would also like to get the public at large involved with us to raise funds for this important cause." said Trevor. "You can find us on the Mowvember Canada web page and donate in support of us, or search out "Millet Fire Department" on the site and join our team. The more the merrier!"
The Millet Fire Department already has six members signed up and willing to become wooly wonders in order to raise money for the cause. A particular coup for the men was getting the support of their Deputy Chief, Blair Mohr. D.C. Mohr has worn a moustache for the last 30 years, so in this type of case the rules for Mowvember states that a person can do the opposite and remove their long standing facial hair in order to gather donations.
"No one has seen his upper lip in over 30 years!" laughed Trevor, "So we hope that he will raise a lot of money by remaining clean shaven until the end of the month."
Trevor also joked that by remaining clean shaven, D.C. Mohr will also be making the rest of the Millet firefighters taking part look like they can actually grow something, as a lot of the guys on the team are fairly young and don't grow a lot of facial hair!
Mowvember is a charity that raises funds around the world, but Canada is their #1 fundraising country. And it is all because of individuals and groups that give their time and effort in order to help others, like the Millet Fire Department.
This is just one of the ways that the Millet Fire Department is looking to maintain and increase the camaraderie on the force, as well as making a connection with their community. "Up until now Millet has typically been a fairly traditional department, but this is just the first of several new ideas we will be undertaking in the near future." informed Trevor. "People definitely should keep their eye on us, as we have some fun things planned that just might surprise them!"