Firefighter part of growing movement

CMI staff photo: Eric Norwood Jr. Clovis firefighter Rodney Alanis displays his mustache, which he’s been growing for thirty days. Alanis is growing the mustache to support prostate and testicular cancer awareness and research, along with 30 other firefighters. Alanis lost his grandfather to prostate cancer, and his father is a survivor.

CMI staff photo: Eric Norwood Jr.
Clovis firefighter Rodney Alanis displays his mustache, which he’s been growing for thirty days. Alanis is growing the mustache to support prostate and testicular cancer awareness and research, along with 30 other firefighters. Alanis lost his grandfather to prostate cancer, and his father is a survivor.

By Christina Calloway
CMI staff writer
ccalloway@pntonline.com

Rodney Alanis took a month of wisecracks about his newly grown mustache for a cause that’s close to his heart.

It’s the men that he admires in his life that inspired the 34-year-old Clovis firefighter to put down the razor for the 30 days of November and grow the ‘stache as a participant of Movember.

Movember is a global charity that raises funds and awareness for men’s health issues including prostate and testicular cancer by having supporters refrain from shaving during the month of November.

Alanis said his grandfather died of prostate cancer and his father and uncle are prostate cancer survivors.

Alanis said he didn’t know his grandfather well but learned about him through stories from his family. He described his grandfather as a “proud, strong Hispanic man.”

“I’m fortunate to do (Movember) for the last two years,” Alanis said.

Only this year Alanis strengthened his fight by recruiting his fellow firefighters to join him. Together, the group of 30-plus men raised nearly $1,200.

Alanis channeled his father’s strength to lead his team and raise the funds.

“He’s a very tough man, very great man,” Alanis said. “My father is a very close man in my life. He’s probably my biggest supporter. He’s also my hero. I seen a very hard man change his outlook on life and become more loving and caring.”

Alanis was equally touched by the support of his brothers at the fire department. He said participants were ridiculed by wives and girlfriends and were told they looked like 70s gigolos but he said it was all in good fun.

“It actually boosted the morale here a lot more,” Alanis said. “Not one of us looks great around here but it was awesome to see everyone take part of it. Next year we’re thinking of challenging the Portales Fire Department for the cause.”

Eric Segovia of Portales said he usually sports a clean shaven look but the last time he shaved was Halloween night.

“It’s a little weird to me but it’s starting to grow on me, literally,” said Segovia about his new facial hair.

Segovia, a senior studying electrical and computer engineering at New Mexico State University, said he didn’t know what Movember was but saw a lot of friends grow beards and mustaches last November.

He challenged his friends to a grow-off this year. When he came home for Thanksgiving, he said his family was shocked to see his face.

“It’s been nice not to have to keep up with it,” Segovia said. “I might have to do ‘don’t stop December.’ This made me aware by doing this.”

Cannon Air Force Base Staff Sgt. Chris Treacher, 24, said he typically can’t grow facial hair in the military but because he was on leave for November, he took the opportunity to participate in Movember.

“I had to be clean shaven for the last five years so I’m liking it,” Treacher said. “Usually we don’t get to participate in ‘No Shave November.’”

The Michigan native said it’s important for men to be active in their own health awareness.

“Women have the whole breast cancer awareness month. This is our month to raise awareness and go get checked,” Treacher said.

Kendall McDaniel, 34, of Portales has been sporting his beard to bring awareness to a different cause.

McDaniel’s non-profit organization, Two-5 International Mission, provides food, clothing and education to children in Kenya.

McDaniel has been growing his beard since June and has no intention of chopping it off. He said it’s often a conversation starter that allows him to bring awareness to his organization.

“I felt God led me to do that,” McDaniel said.