A number of Buffalo Grove firefighters will soon sport new mustaches as the department participates in Movember, an international effort to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues.
This is accomplished by growing mustaches during the month of November. The facial hair serves as a conversation starter, and participating Movember teams take the opportunity to discuss prostate and testicular cancer and raise funds for related initiatives.
“It’s causing us to talk about something men generally don’t talk about,” Fire Chief Terry Vavra said.
This is the first year that the Buffalo Grove Fire Department is joining the effort, Vavra said. The usually clean-shaven leader is among the Movember participants.
“It’s kind of a fun thing for us to do,” Vavra said. He said he expects about 20 firefighters to participate in the effort. Many of the participants typically do not have mustaches, while others are shaving theirs off and regrowing them for Movember, he said.
The department also marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, when some firefighters don pink T-shirts. Movember is a way to continue its health-related awareness efforts.
“Knowing that we have friends who have either gone through this or are going through it, it seemed like the right thing to do,” Vavra said.
“We may look stupid for awhile, but at least we’ll look stupid together,” he added.
And, he deadpanned, "A lot of the females aren't doing it."
Community members can support the fire department’s fundraising effort by donating through the team’s page on the Movember website.
Vavra, who said he last wore a mustache at least a decade ago, said he expects to have a “pretty good mustache” in under two weeks. But, he added, people shouldn’t expect the new look to last for long.
“I don’t particularly think I look good with a mustache,” he said. “I won’t have it for Christmas.”