BLOOMFIELD, NJ - In what has become yet another firehouse tradition, the Bloomfield Fire Department has stepped up to the plate this October raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Starting on October 1st, Local 19, the union representing Bloomfield firefighters, began selling special T-shirts to its members with bright pink lettering and fire department insignias replacing the standard white. All members were allowed to wear the shirts throughout the month to show their support for those who are battling or have beaten cancer.
Each year, the department chooses one or two recipients of the proceeds from the T-shirt sales. The recipient(s) is someone who has battled cancer. This year, one of the recipients was one of their own. Firefighter Jarrett Francisco, an 8 year veteran of the Bloomfield Fire Department was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in May of 2019. While he was unable to work during his treatment period, his brother firefighters stayed in close contact with him. They organized BBQ's, helped him with household chores such as mowing the lawn and taking the garbage out at his home and were there for mental and emotional support as well. Since his treatment Jarrett has received a clean bill of health and is back protecting the residents of Bloomfield.
Marisol Dennis of Bloomfield was diagnosed with cancer long before her husband. Yet, after 35 years of marriage, cancer made her a widow in 2018 when her husband succumbed to the disease. Instead of bitterness it is her strength that shines through. Marisol says that cancer taught her to count her blessings, and make those blessings count. Because of her battle and positive outlook, Marisol was the second recipient of a monetary award from the Bloomfield Fire Department.
Firefighter Jeff DeJessie spearheaded the fundraiser for the fourth straight year. Along with many other members of Local 19, DeJessie helped to coordinate the design and manufacturing of the shirts. He worked with a local print shop to have all shirts printed up, coordinated sales and helped select the recipients. DeJessie, a 14 year BFD veteran looks at it as just another way to help the department reach the community in as many positive ways as possible. "We are always looking for ways to give back to the community and help others in need. It's such a pleasure having residents come in and we love getting to know them personally. This was a team effort and I'm proud to work with each and every member of the Bloomfield Fire Department."