By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Sadly, nearly all of us have a friend, a family member or know of someone in the community who has been touched by breast cancer, Sea Isle City Police Chief Tom McQuillen said.
That is also the case with the Sea Isle Police Department. Officer Kirk Rohrer’s mother, Antoinette, was only 46 years old when she died of breast cancer in April 2017.
Last year, Rohrer approached McQuillen with the idea of having Sea Isle’s police officers wear symbolic pink badges in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to honor his mother and other victims and survivors of the disease.
This year, all 22 Sea Isle officers will wear pink badges again in October, and the police department has decided to make it an annual tradition, McQuillen said.
“It’s a small gesture for us to show our solidarity with breast cancer survivors or victims,” he said in an interview Friday.
Sea Isle’s police officers already participate each year in “No-Save November,” a charitable campaign to raise money for families battling cancer.
McQuillen said there aren’t any plans for officers to raise money during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but they will be raising awareness of the disease.
“I think people appreciate the fact that we’re doing it,” he said. “I think we all know someone impacted by breast cancer in some shape or form.”
In an interview last year, Rohrer said he was proud that his mother served as the inspiration for the police department’s breast cancer awareness campaign.
“I feel good about it. I feel it’s the right thing to do,” he said then.
Rohrer’s swearing-in ceremony to join the police department occurred at his mother’s house in Upper Township because she was too ill to leave her home at that time.
Even before Kirk Rohrer became an officer in 2017, his family had strong ties to Sea Isle and the police department. His father, also named Kirk, was a longtime Sea Isle police officer who rose to the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 2012.
Antoinette Rohrer served as Sea Isle’s Municipal Court administrator. She worked for the city starting in the 1980s up to 2017.