Friday, 27 July 2018 14:59

Firefighters wear green to put shift leader's lymphoma fight in limelight Featured

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Reed and Rowland pose beside Hawkins' locker. Reed and Rowland pose beside Hawkins' locker. rrspin.com

Roanoke Rapids firefighters donned lime green T-shirts today to show support for a shift leader who has been diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.

Several other city employees also wore the T-shirts to pay tribute to Battalion Chief Kevin Hawkins in his fight against mantle cell lymphoma.

Lime green is the color of lymphoma awareness and the T-shirts , which are for sale at Fire Station 1 on Roanoke Avenue come with the hashtag #teamhawkins on the back and the fire department logo with Brotherhood written underneath.

Hawkins was honored to know members of his shift were wearing the shirts, not only for his cancer fight, but for his birthday, which is today.

“The support I have received has been overwhelming,” the veteran firefighter said via text today. “I plan on winning this fight with the help of the wonderful Roanoke Valley.”

At the fire station this morning Chief Stacey Coggins talked about the reason the department ditched their traditional gray T-shirts for the lime green ones. “It’s to show our support for our brother who’s going to need his family, friends and coworkers to not only stand behind him, but with him to fight this dreaded disease. That’s what brothers do. That’s what communities do. This will be a better country if everybody did that.”

The main thing now, Coggins said, is for Hawkins to get his rest and treatment as another round of chemo is scheduled next month. “Firefighting is a selfless profession,” the chief said. “When one of our own goes through something this traumatic we encourage Chief Hawkins to take care of himself while we take care of the community.”

Helen Reed, administrative support staff for the fire department, said the T-shirts are $12 up to extra large and $14 for sizes 2X and up. Proceeds beyond the cost of the shirts will be donated to Hawkins. She said 125 shirts were sold within two days of them going on sale. They can be purchased at Fire Station 1 during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Randy Wrenn of Wrenn Sports Graphics and Screenprinting designed and made the shirts with suggestions from Assistant Chief Jason Patrick.

“When I heard the news of my friend Kevin’s illness, I wanted to help him show how much support he has in his fight,” Wrenn said. “I had no doubt his fire department brotherhood would be so supportive, but I wanted him to see how many others in the community are with him — not only supporting with the shirts but in raising funds for his trips to treatment.”

Wrenn said sales have been swift. “I hope it sends a message he means a lot to a lot.”

Wearing the shirt, firefighter Carter Rowland said, “It means a lot to represent him. We are 100 percent behind his journey.”

Lieutenant B.J. Harris said, “Kevin means a lot to me as a leader and a friend. It means a lot supporting him and we are hoping for the best. Through God’s work I have faith that we will see him get better.”

Said Coggins: “Kevin’s passion and dedication is contagious. He’s a valued member of this department.”

Patrick said the fire department will continue to sell the shirts.”I think more people will be doing fundraisers. He’s got our full support down here.”

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