PINNACLE — Firefighter Chris Gillett is passionate about a lot of things — his faith and family, to name a few — but he has recently taken a mission to help save the lives of fellow firefighters.
Gillett, a former pastor and a newly-elected lieutenant with the Shoals Volunteer Fire Department, made up his mind about a week ago that he wanted to start a fundraiser to buy safety gear for area firefighters. The way he decided to go about that is not hair-raising — it’s hair shaving. Gillett stepped up to say that he will shave his head for the cause.
“I have decided to join friends and firefighters to shave our heads and mustaches to raise money to help protect each other. The funds raised will go to purchase bail-out kits for fire departments in Surry County,” said Gillett.
As explained by Gillett, a bail-out kit is a tool for an emergency egress should a firefighter be trapped on an upper floor of a building. He said the kit is lightweight and easy to use. The device provides a controlled descent with all the utilities needed for firefighters to rescue themselves, other firefighters or civilians.
“[It] helps us ensure more firefighters have access to this life-saving equipment,” said Gillett.
Not only is he planning to shave his head, he has recruited more than 15 firefighters to do the same, including some big names in the fire service. But first, they have to raise $1,000 to shave Gillett’s head.
Those who have signed up for the cause include: Lt. Chris Gillett, Andrew Scott, Austin Scott, Chief Adrian Wall of Shoals Fire Department; Tommy Roberts and Assistant Chief Eric Southern of the Franklin VFD; Eric Hough of the Pilot Rescue Squad; Taylor Welch of the Kernersville Fire Department; Vincent McAlexander of the Old Richmond Fire Department of Winston-Salem; Will Nowotny of the Belews Creek VFD; Kyle Hall of the Pinnacle VFD; Montana Skye Marshall of the Old Richmond VFD; Chief Wes Key of the Ararat VFD; Kevin Settle of the Pinnacle Fire Department; Steven Snider of Rockford, Ill.; Capt. Willie Wines Jr. of ironfiremen.com and Roanoke, Va., Fire Department; and Lt. Rhett Fleitz, aka “The Fire Critic,” of the Roanoke Fire Department.
In order for their heads or mustaches to be shaved, each one has picked a certain amount that has to be raised before anyone is taking hair off their heads.
Gillett said Wines is famous for his mustache but willing to shave it off for the cause — if the donation is large enough.
The first-ever event will be held March 10 at the Shoals Volunteer Fire Department. A group of firefighters from Forsyth will host a “wienie roast” at 5 p.m. The head-shaving should begin around 6 p.m.
“Everyone is welcome to attend,” said Gillett.
Gillett teamed up with the National Firefighters Endowment to help raise money for his fellow firefighters in need.
“I am willing to let my Explorers/juniors shave my head and post a video of it on Facebook to help out our fellow brothers. Brothers helping brothers, that is what it is all about,” said Gillett.
There are prizes for those who raise enough money. Those who raise $100 will earn a Brotherhood Chip from the Fire Critic and Ironfiremen. Those who raise $250 will earn a shirt from National Firefighters Endowment. Those raising $750 will earn a miniature leather fire helmet collectible from National Firefighters Endowment, and those who raise $2,500 will earn a Phenix TL-2 leather fire helmet.
Gillett issued a challenge to all Surry County volunteer and municipal departments on Friday for them to join in the effort as well.
“I am surprised that more Surry County fire departments have not joined in the fundraiser. It is, after all, benefiting your departments. I challenge every Surry County fire department to become actively involved to help us raise funds. Right now, I have more departments from Stokes and Forsyth getting involved,” said Gillett.
“Come on Surry, let’s get together and show them what brotherhood is all about!”
Those who want to join the cause are asked to go to www.brotherhoodcuts.com. Anyone can donate to the cause on that page or sign up to volunteer.
Reach Mondee Tilley email@example.com or at 719-1930.