Community, businesses send former firefighter on trip of a lifetime

2 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Friday, November 03 2017 Nov 3, 2017 Friday, November 03, 2017 3:06:00 PM CDT November 03, 2017 in News
By: Allyson Wallenta, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – The city of Columbia has come together to make the dream of one man come true. After two months, businesses and individuals have raised more than enough money to send a recently retired firefighter to New York City.

Marc Wright was hired by the Columbia Fire Department in 1992 at the age of 21. He served at a number of different fire stations throughout the years, until he became division chief in 2012.

“When I was six years old, that’s when I knew that I wanted to be a firefighter like a lot of young girls and boys at that age,” Wright said. 

Over the past twenty-five years, Wright has left a memorable impression on his coworkers and community. 

“Marc holds a special spot in a lot of guys hearts around here,” Firefighter Tommy Goran said. “He’s the kind of guy you follow into a fire with no questions. If I am half the man he is, I’d be happy about that.”

In 2014, Wright’s life changed.

“I was diagnosed with colon cancer,” Wright said. “I went through six months of chemo at that time, twelve rounds, and had a surgery that lasted 6-7 hours.” 

But that was only the beginning. Six months later, Wright found out the cancer had moved to two different spots in his liver. He had to have surgery that lasted seventeen hours.

The cancer didn’t stop there. Wright is currently battling lung, lymph node and liver cancer. Over the past three years, Wright has undergone thirty-one rounds of chemotherapy, 7 weeks of radiation and two surgeries.  

“A lot of people hope to beat cancer once, and he’s beat it three times,” Goran said. “He’s just such an inspiration to everybody through all of this, never gets discouraged, keeps God at the forefront of his life and just leads a life that most of us would hope to live.”

That's exactly why Goran and another firefighter, Jeff Strawn, decided to start the Marc Wright Cancer Benefit.  

Wright was a part of Missouri Task Force 1 when the September 11 attacks happened, and ever since it has been a dream of his to go and visit New York City and the 9/11 memorial.

“It’s just a very important place, especially for us in the fire service to pay tribute to all the police and EMS workers and firefighters that lost their lives that day,” Wright said. 

Goran and Strawn created the benefit to help raise money to be able to make Wright’s dream a reality.

The idea came about when Goran was sitting with Wright at one of his treatments a few months ago.

“We were just randomly talking about all the things he hadn’t done and still wanted to do, because he’s recently retired in the last six months, and one of them was go to New York City,” Goran said. “Obviously he’s got a lot of money going out towards treatments so this is something we wanted to fund for him so he could do it.”

Goran planned a fundraiser and auction to raise money for Wright’s trip, and it was a huge success.

More than 160 businesses in Columbia got involved in the fundraiser by donating items, money and services to the auction. Veterans United, Bass Pro, relators and a number of doctors in the community donated services or goods to the fundraiser.

After two months of gathering items, Goran and Strawn held an auction on Oct. 19 at Columbia’s Peachtree Catering and Banquet Center.

Family, friends and local firefighters came to support Wright as he was presented with more than $15,000.

Goran said with Marc’s legacy it wasn’t hard to collect the money. “When you do an entire life’s work of service, you affect a lot of people,” he said. 

Among the attendees, was a man who Wright cut out of a car when he was five years old. His lung had collapsed during an accident and Wright saved his life.   

When Wright first heard about the benefit, he wanted to tell Goran no. But he found a way to make the benefit impact more than just him.

Wright has decided to donate the money made on top of the cost of the trip to two local organizations: Fire Fighter Cancer Support Network and the Safety Net of Missouri. 

The Safety Net of Missouri is an organization that helps take care of families who have lost a loved one while working as a firefighter. 

The Fire Fighter Cancer Support Network is a nonprofit organization that helps offer care and assistance to fire fighters who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Strawn, who is the State Director of the Fire Fighter Cancer Support Network, said firefighters are much more likely than others to be diagnosed with cancer.

According to Goran, that is what the Marc Wright Cancer Benefit was all about: raising awareness and education about cancer in fire departments. 

Wright said he was overwhelmed with the amount of money raised and the number of people and businesses that got involved.

“I was fortunate enough to work in a job where we could take care of people and to help people on a daily basis, and for me to be on the other side of that, it’s a weird feeling but I am very thankful,” Wright said. “We’re just one big family here in Columbia.”

Wright plans to take his trip to New York City during the first week of November. He will travel alone so he can spend as much time as possible at the 9/11 memorial.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Emergency responders have reported numerous crashes, slide-offs and other incidents related to slick roads Wednesday morning. One... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:50:00 AM CST February 26, 2020 in News
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Bernie Sanders faced a torrent of attacks Tuesday night during a raucous debate that tested the Democratic... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:20:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One group of former service men and women is making a difference across the state providing help... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:10:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
JEFFERSON CITY - New technology installed by Ameren could provide more responsive service if severe weather comes to Jefferson City.... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6:45:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia neighborhood watch is still relevant despite social media and sites like Nextdoor. Neighborhood watch programs encourage... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5:51:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - The American Cancer Society's annual "Stick a Fork in Cancer" campaign welcomes a new restaurant. BluTaco joins... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5:34:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe today filed to run for election in 2020. Kehoe has served as... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5:12:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia Public Works plow crews are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, to prepare for possible... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 4:54:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY— Tuesday at the Missouri State Capitol, representatives heard testimony from people in regards to a house bill that... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 3:25:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson and Auditor Nicole Galloway filed to run for governor on Tuesday. It was... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 2:26:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -- The Civil Rights Movement was a time of racially charged protests and marches. Some activists took to the... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 2:10:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri joined 38 other states in an investigation into Juul Labs on Tuesday. Those states are looking into... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 1:59:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia College announced Tuesday it is laying off 49 employees across the nation, including 25 at its Columbia... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 12:59:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- An announcement from Bishop Shawn McKnight at Father Tolton today revealed the school's $6.2 million-dollar debt will be completely... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 11:46:00 AM CST February 25, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri joined a bipartisan, multistate investigation of JUUL Labs on Tuesday, according to Missouri Attorney General Eric... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 11:33:00 AM CST February 25, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Snuggling next to my kitties while their furry chests softly rumble is a proven antidote to the day's... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 9:16:39 AM CST February 25, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man connected to a deadly shooting during a home invasion in Columbia in early February.... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:17:28 AM CST February 25, 2020 in News
FULTON - Three people were arrested in Fulton Tuesday morning after one person fled from a traffic stop. A... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:03:00 AM CST February 25, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 32°
11am 34°
12pm 36°
1pm 36°
2pm 36°