Police join 'Real Men Wear Pink' fundraiser

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | awarren@messenger-inquirer.com Major Barry Smith, of the Daviess County Sheriff's Department, holds a special pink badge for sale outside of his patrol vehicle highlighted with pink to promote the "real men wear pink" breast cancer campaign on Thursday outside the Daviess County courthouse. DCSD and OPD have goals to raise at least $2,500 each for breast cancer research.

Members of the Owensboro Police Department and the Daviess County Sheriff's Department will be donning pink over the next two months or so in an effort to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Lt. Mike Staples, OPD's supervisor for the criminal investigations division, and Major Barry Smith, the sheriff's department's chief deputy, will represent their agencies during the Cancer Society's "Real Men Wear Pink" campaign, a competition where 15 men chosen from across the community work to see who can raise the most money for breast cancer research.

Anna Way, senior community development manager for the American Cancer Society's Owensboro chapter, said this year's goal is for the 15 men to raise $50,000.

Last year's fundraising effort was "awesome," Way said.

"We had (a goal of) each guy (raising) $2,500, and some went way above and beyond that, at least triple that amount," Way said.

Staples, who was asked to participate, said he was interested because, like many families, his family has been impacted by cancer.

"I think every family has been through cancer," Staples said. "My mom died in 2013, on Christmas Eve" of cancer, Staples said. "Almost everybody has a story similar to that, unfortunately.

"It's always good to get on board with an organization that is trying to find a cure," Staples said.

While OPD has participated in the last few annual campaigns, this is the first year the sheriff's department has participated.

"We feel honored to be a part of it," Smith said. "It's a great cause. Every person has someone in their family or friends that has been affected by cancer."

Staples will be selling T-shirts as well as custom pink OPD patches for $10. Smith will be selling pink sheriff's department patches for $10 and plans to have a few of the patches available Friday when the 15 "Real Men" participants make their public debut at Friday After 5.

Also, Smith plans to auction off a pink quilt made in honor of cancer survivors.

"Any kind of funds we can raise in support of patients with cancer, and their families, is very needed," Smith said.

Both departments also have patrol vehicles with custom breast cancer awareness wraps that were created at no cost to the departments by DMC Graphics. Staples said he plans to promote the campaign at public events like next month's Owensboro Air Show. The campaign will also include the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk and fundraiser, which will be held on Oct. 27 at Smothers Park.

People interested in purchasing one of the special OPD badges or T-shirts can contact Staples at OPD at 270-687-8888. People interested in a sheriff's department pink badge can call Smith at 270-685-8444.

"It's nice to know we are making a difference in people's lives," Way said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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