News Story

Berges Family Foundation Grant

In June, the St. Louis Fire Department Foundation received the largest single grant in our history. Cancer remains the biggest threat to firefighters, and too many of them are “dying with their boots off,” according to Chief Dennis Jenkerson. He’s right. Since 2002, almost two out of every three firefighters who died on the job died of cancer, as smoke from today’s fires produces an ever-more toxic brew of carcinogens.

Thanks to a very generous donation from the Berges Family Foundation, the St. Louis Fire Department is purchasing specially-made machines that will decontaminate and remove carcinogens from firefighters’ gear. Each set of chemical extracting washers and dryers costs around $30,000. The high cost of this life-saving equipment required outside support, beyond what the STLFD budget could accommodate.

Knowing that this equipment is key to removing the cancer-causing chemicals from the suits firefighters are required to wear each day, The STLFD turned to the Foundation for support.

The Foundation began looking for donors who could join together to support this need, and without hesitation, the Berges Family Foundation stepped in to cover the cost. Over the next several months, the STLFD will be purchasing and installing these machines at firehouses all over the city.

We can never do enough to protect the men and women of the St. Louis Fire Department, and the STLFD Foundation is deeply grateful for the support of the Berges Family Foundation for its unwavering support of our Cancer Preventive Initiative.


STLFD FF Aaron Buchanan was the key to the Foundation’s connection to the Berges Family Foundation. FF Buchanan shared information about the Foundation’s Cancer Prevention Initiative with someone with the Berges Family Foundation who then reached out to the STLFD Foundation, and discussions began on our most urgent funding needs. Because FF Buchanan was familiar with the work of the STLFD Foundation, we are now able to do significant work that will help lower the rates of cancer for the men and women of the St. Louis Fire Department. Thank you FF Buchanan for the overwhelmingly positive impact you’ve made!

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