ELBURN-The Fox Valley Career Center (FVCC) received a $2,000 cash donation from the IDEX Foundation to support its research to reduce cancer among firefighters.
The donation was approved by the Kaneland School Board during its meeting on Feb. 11.
“It’s an exciting thing for us because our kids can be in on fire science experiments,” said Dr. Rick Burchell, director of the FVCC. “It’s basically allowing us to do science experiments. What are you burning? What data are you collecting? How are you eliminating sources of air? The kids are able to be a part of all this and we’re excited about that.”
As a charitable giving organization that strives to make a positive impact all around the world, the work that the IDEX Foundation does accomplishes many things, including keeping people alive by extracting them from accidents and extinguishing fires.
“Some parts of the world are going to a CAF (compressed air foam) system and one of our instructors (Gary Baum) reached out to the foam manufacturers to do testing,” Burchell said. “The $2,000 allowed us to rent the testing equipment, which is really sensitive and we ran tests and collected data and it will be presented in April.”
The donation was made on behalf of the Hale/Class 1 employees.
“Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death for firefighters,” Burchell said. “Gary did some research working through his EFO (Executive Fire Officer) certification, which is the highest one you can get in the firefighter realm, and in research collected some samples, burned things and collected carbon and other chemicals and showed the levels and did some more research. He has even shared it internationally in Amsterdam and Hong Kong.”
The FVCC offers a Fire Science program that’s designed to prepare students for entry-level firefighter positions. Students are engaged in classroom, online and guided practice activities for the essentials of fire, rescue, EMS and hazardous materials scene operations.
According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, erroneous firefighter cancers statistics have unfortunately been publicized that are substantially worse than reality. Still, the accurate statistics are sobering. Firefighters have a nine percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population. The cancers that are mostly responsible for this higher risk are respiratory, GI and kidney, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
In other news, Dr. Todd Leden, superintendent of Kaneland, saluted teachers and students during the meeting to recognize them for their outstanding accomplishments.
Kaneland High School science teacher Patrick Carter received National Board Certification, which is considered to be the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.
“This certificate is an advanced teaching credential that complements, but does not replace, a state’s teacher’s license,” said Jill Maras, Kaneland High School principal. “It’s designed to identify great teachers and make them better.”
The Kaneland High School yearbook staff, and its sponsor, Mallory Sunday, were acknowledged as they are being included in Herff Jones’ best-of publication, Portfolio, which showcases best-in-class yearbook work from students all across North America.
“It was all their hard work,” Sunday said. “All I had to do was just stay there and help them if they had any questions. It was completely them. Their design, the theme, the writing, everything, so I owe it all to them. Thank you for all your hard work.”
Clay Hansen, an automotive technology instructor at the FVCC, is being recognized by the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education for his commendable CTE work.
“He continues to push the boundaries and do great things with our students,” Burchell said. “He was selected as one of the exemplary CTE teachers in the state and he’ll be at a conference in Bloomington this weekend. We’re really proud of him.”