Woodrow VFD to hold event for new equipment, which can potentially prevent cancer

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - When the Woodrow Volunteer Fire Department opens the door to its new facility Saturday, the staff intends to do more than show people around.

“We’ve really been blessed to get this station, and we just want to invite everyone out to come out and mingle with everybody,” says Woodrow VFD Cheif Wesley Boone. “Bring your kids. I mean we’re going to have food trucks, we’re giving away a Polaris Ranger. We are in the process of purchasing extractors, and that is a name for washing machines.”

“We take our gear and clean it after structure fires and stuff, and that gets all of the bad stuff out of it, so we do not maybe get cancer in the long run,” he said.

Susan Gillespie, wife of long-time Woodrow Firefighter Joe Gillispie knows first-hand the medical hazards that can be a part of the job.

“In 2018, Joe was having issues getting over simply the flu. That lead us to the ER one day, so they did a chest X-ray and found hundreds of tumors in his lungs. Through that process, we wanted to know “Hey, is this genetic? Could it be firefighter related?,” she said.

Along with the lung cancer diagnosis, Gillispie and her family also want to clear some misconceptions.

“Everyone thinks (with) lung cancer, “Ah, you must smoke,” and he’s not a smoker. That’s not always true.”

During the interview, Gillispie gave a positive update.

“It was three years ago, and Joe is still stable. He’s still working, he’s still going on calls.”

Two years ago on a Friday night, Amy Peck was in extreme pain while fighting respiratory distress. While her husband was watching over her, the department answered the call.

“Woodrow was there. Come to find out, so many of them left dinners and other commitments on a Friday evening to do that. To stand up, and leave what they were doing to be there. They fought very hard until the ambulance got there, and then they stayed with me all the way to the hospital.”

One of many reasons Chief Boone reminded KCBD the importance of volunteer work.

“I tell you, volunteering... It’s something that you have in your heart that you care about your community enough that you volunteer to go- any hour of the night!”

Gillispie echoes the statement.

“I just love these guys. We’re just family, we’re a brotherhood, and so- I just want to protect them, and I just can’t say “thanks” enough to the community.”

The event runs from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday at the Woodrow VFD headquarters. The festivities extend to the San Ramon Catholic Church and Lubbock-Cooper High School parking lot.

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