Utica University Football Team to Honor Firefighters in 5th Annual Believe Bowl
Kick-off for the annual game is set for this Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 7 p.m. where Utica will face the University of Rochester.
More than 3,500 people are killed by fires each year in the U.S. alone. Even more frightening are the aftereffects that these brave -- often volunteer -- firefighters face from toxic fumes while trying to save others. Firefighters have significantly higher rates of cancer than the general population, according to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
The Utica University Football team will honor these courageous firefighters once again at their upcoming 5th annual Believe Bowl. On Thursday, September 1 in the Cynkus Family Welcome Center, Blaise Faggiano, Utica University Football Head Coach, along with University President Laura Casamento, introduced the honorary captains for the team’s upcoming game. Faggiano also presented these captains with Utica football jerseys.
This presentation will feature the recognition of two local firefighters as honorary Pioneer captains. Chief John Stark of the Floyd Fire Department has been serving for 35 years and was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in May of 2021. He received his first round of chemotherapy that July and continues to make trips to Westchester County for treatments. Stark is currently serving as Fire Chief in Floyd.
Firefighter Thomas Phelps was an active member of the Maynard Fire Department up until his recent passing on August 1. In May of this year, Phelps was diagnosed with an aggressive stage 4 cancer of his liver. Accepting his jersey posthumously was his son, Jacob, who followed his father’s footsteps as a Maynard firefighter.
Kick-off for the annual game is set for this Saturday, September 3, 2022 at 7 p.m. where Utica will face the University of Rochester. A select number of jerseys will be auctioned off with proceeds going to both the Believe 271 Foundation and the Thea Bowman House, an organization that provides quality care for underprivileged children in the local community.
The Believe 271 Foundation is an organization that aims to provide financial assistance to volunteer firefighters, EMTs and members of ladies' auxiliaries in Oneida and Herkimer Counties who suffer from life threatening illnesses, such as cancer.