In perhaps the most poignant donation to date, the Carney Strong Initiative made it’s fifth donation to the Midway Fire Rescue. You can view the coverage of the event from WMBF’s Ian Klein here – Carney Strong Initiative Donation to Midway Fire Rescue.
Josh Carney, a Battalion Chief with Midway Fire Rescue in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, was just 41 years old when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma cancer in June 2017. This aggressive cancer claimed Josh’s life four months later. While he understood the well-known risks of being a firefighter, what Carney and his family didn’t understand was the hidden danger of firefighter occupational cancer. His diagnosis stemmed from his more than two-decade career as a firefighter.
To continue Josh’s legacy, his family has made it their mission to raise awareness of firefighter occupational cancer. Lillian, Josh’s wife, stated, “I do not want another wife at Midway, or another wife anywhere to have to be handed the folded flag that was once on her husband’s casket.” His cousin, Kristine Munck, worked to raise funds to purchase Responder Wipes, on-scene decontamination wipes, which were donated to the North Haven, Connecticut Fire Department. North Haven FD, a combination career and volunteer department, is the family’s hometown department, where Josh started his career, and where his best friend is still a firefighter.
Once Responder Wipes learned of Kristine’s efforts to honor BC Carney, they partnered with the Carney family to launch the “Carney Strong” Initiative. Working through the non-profit “Brothers Helping Brothers,” the initiative selects one volunteer or small municipal fire department each month through the end of the year to provide decontamination products and cancer prevention and educational materials to. To nominate a department, or learn more about this grant program, visit Carney Strong Initiative through Brothers Helping Brothers.
The family chose Midway Fire Rescue as the fifth grant recipient. It was important to Lillian Carney that she help Josh’s brothers and sisters become educated and prevent firefighter occupational cancer. According to the IAFF, cancer is now a leading cause of death among firefighters, with 68% of the LoDD’s in 2016 being attributable to cancer.