Marble Falls Fire Rescue Capt. Coy Guenter participates in a Pink Out first responder fashion show at a previous event. This year's Pink Out hits home for the fire department as Guenter battles cancer. Staff photo
Fall in Marble Falls brings on a change of color. It begins in early October, when the hues at Marble Falls Fire Rescue begin to show the first signs of — PINK! By Friday, Oct. 8, local businesses join first responders in painting the town pink as part of the annual Pink Out Marble Falls, which raises money and awareness for all types of cancer.
On Oct. 9, Pink Out Marble Falls stages an evening of fun and fundraising at Old Oak Square on Main Street in Marble Falls with all new events, including live music, the First Responder Wacky Olympics, and a street dance.
“This is the first time we’ve held it on a Saturday,” said Lynnette Courtney, assistant emergency management coordinator for the city of Marble Falls and lead Pink Out organizer. “We are looking to grow the event and have more people come out and support the members of our community who have or have had cancer or have a loved one fighting cancer.”
This year, one of their own is in a battle against the disease: Marble Falls Fire Rescue Capt. Coy Guenter, affectionately known as Mr. Marble Falls.
“This year, the event is especially close to our hearts,” Courtney said. “We want to do everything we can to help raise awareness.”
Proceeds from the event will go to two charities: Operation Heroes United, a local nonprofit that organizes birthday parties for children in the hospital with cancer, and Firefighter Cancer Support Network, which pairs first responders and their families with someone who has gone through the same process and can help shepherd them through the issues.
This year’s two-day event begins on Friday, when participating businesses will pink out their locations in a friendly competition. Winners will be announced the next day as the Saturday activities get underway at 6 p.m. with a welcome by Fire Chief Russell Sander.
The opening ceremonies will be followed by a cake walk and, at 6:30 p.m., the first of the First Responder Wacky Olympics.
At 7 p.m., Dave Jorgenson provides live music, and the First Responder Wacky Olympics finale starts at 8 p.m.
Although the 9:30 p.m. event is titled “closing remarks,” the fun is not over. Live music continues with a street dance in front of Old Oak Square until 11 p.m.
There’s more to Pink Out than raising awareness and money, according to Courtney.
“I love the community support,” she said. “We’ve all been affected by cancer, so giving those people a fun day to relax and have fun melts my heart. It’s giving back to the community, and that’s what we as a fire service do.”
Pink Out was born on a high school football field in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, when senior and cheerleading captain Ellese Meyer organized the first event to honor her mother, who died of breast cancer just a few weeks before. Her idea was to paint the stadium pink and raise money for the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation, which is headquartered in nearby Pittsburgh.
Because the school’s athletic director, John Grogan, distributed the information about the event statewide, 42 high schools joined in the nation’s first Pink Out on October 30, 2009. One young girl’s tribute to her mother now colors the country pink every October, including in Marble Falls.