SEBRING — The Highlands Fire & EMS Foundation officially announced its board members on Wednesday and donated $2,000 to Highlands Breast & Imaging Center. The ceremony took place at noon in front of Swaine & Leidel Wealth Services on West Center Avenue.

The foundation, a registered 501©(3), began its public service with a bang by donating money to the breast imaging center for needy women who can not afford a mammogram. The purpose of the organization is to serve Highlands County and benefit Fire Rescue personnel.

The donation to the Highlands Breast & Imaging Center is a result of the Highlands County Fire Rescue pink T-shirt campaign held this past October.

“We are very humbled to present this check in the amount of $2,000 to the Highlands Breast & Imaging Center,” Lisa Celentano, president of the foundation, said.

“These funds will help those less able to afford mammograms and cancer preventative services right here in Highlands County,” Celentano said.

Dr. Ryan Polselli and the staff at the imaging center accepted the donation. “On behalf of Highlands Breast & Imaging Center, we thank you very much,” Polselli said. “Last year we had a couple of patients who could have used this.”

Public Safety Director and Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said, “The people in Fire Rescue wanted the money raised from the T-shirt campaign to go to Highlands County.”

Bashoor told the story of driving down Sebring Parkway and seeing the pink sign for the imaging center. When he walked into the center he was asked, “Do you have an appointment, sir?”

“That’s not exactly what I’m here for,” Bashoor said. “However, there’s a small percentage of men who contract breast cancer as well.”

Polselli interjected, “We have one [man] right now.”

The imaging center seemed the perfect choice to help people with medical needs in Highlands County and the right recipient for funds from a pink T-shirt campaign.

After presenting the check to the imaging center, the foundation also presented Lifesaver Challenge Coins to Highlands County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief and EMS Manager Dustin Fitch.

“The coins will be presented to public safety personnel and community members who perform successful life-saving measures right here in Highlands County,” Celentano said.

“We want to recognize people who perform life-saving skills on someone, such as CPR, and they essentially come back from the dead,” Bashoor said. “Currently, they go before the county commissioners and get a certificate. These challenge coins are for saving a life. It’s for people who brought someone back from the brink of death.”

Kevin Cornine, a firefighter and paramedic, was thanked for contributing the designs for the breast cancer awareness T-shirts and the patch on the Fire Rescue vehicles. He also designed the Lifesaver Challenge Coins.

Highlands Fire & EMS Foundation plans to have at least one fundraiser per quarter so the foundation can continue to contribute to worthwhile causes.

Board members are: Celentano, president; Will Swaine, vice president; Vince Sarmiento, treasurer; Laura Bashoor, board member; Mike Fitch, board member; and Marc Bashoor, liason.


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