PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. (KMTV) — Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close as No Shave November begins. In one Nebraska community, they've combined the two to keep a good thing growing.
Plattsmouth Police Chief Steve Rathman has worked in law enforcement since 1991 -with the last 12 years in his current role. His philosophy on what a successful department looks like is simple: "The police department working with their community in partnership to better the lives of people that we serve."
In Plattsmouth, that includes using their platform and uniforms to help neighbors diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I was able to partner with the Nebraska Pink Patch Project, which is several law enforcement agencies that have pink patches," Chief Rathman said. "I partnered with existing businesses because we were also doing a No Shave November that they had partnered with me on, so I just combined the two of them together."
Then, police union representatives inquired about continuing their efforts into December. Chief Rathman agreed — if they'd either double their donation to Project Pink'd or bring additional partners on board.
That's exactly what happened.
Through t-shirt sales featuring those partners, the Plattsmouth Police Department has donated about $10,000 to Project Pink'd in the last three years.
Cynthia and Dave Sturgeon co-founded the organization in 2009 to help connect "thrivers" with needed resources and each other.
Penny Thomas credits Project Pink'd with saving her life.
"I was very close to checking out of life because I couldn't find my new normal - what I was supposed to do after cancer, how to keep going," she recalls.
Today, Penny works for the organization. She and Dave are well aware that support received from the Plattsmouth Police Department is about more than money.
"People see the Plattsmouth FOP help us and they say if they're that involved with that, why don't I get involved? Because they must be doing something good if they're willing to spend their money and their time doing it," Dave Sturgeon said.
Next year is already shaping up to be the most impactful yet as several new partners have committed.
Chief Rathman jokes he may need to look at larger shirts to accommodate the growing group!
But, he's all in, telling KMTV that after meeting area thrivers, there's not a doubt in his mind that supporting Project Pink'd is the right thing to do.
The organization served about 5,500 people in 2020. Connect at projectpinkd.org.
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