Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 1:24 pm | Fair 72º


Firefighters Shave Heads in Solidarity with Fellow Firefighter Battling Cancer

The community rallies around Kevin Corbett and his family to help with expenses as he undergoes treatment for testicular cancer

Clippers were buzzing on Friday morning as shorn locks littered the hallway floor of Santa Barbara Fire Station One on Carrillo Street.

Firefighters wandered into the hallway between shifts and other duties, taking a seat beneath a black smock, and Paul Mitchell School students shaved their heads.

One by one, each sent a message of support to fellow city firefighter Kevin Corbett, who has been undergoing radical treatment since he discovered he had testicular cancer just last month.

"We're his brothers, and we love and support him," said Capt. Kevin Bryant, who helped organize Friday's event. "Everybody loves Kevin."

The community has rallied around Corbett, his wife, Lisa, and their three children, and a poker tournament fundraiser held Sunday drew more than 300 people and raised more than $15,000 for the Corbetts to help pay for costs not covered by insurance.

Paul Mitchell students were on hand Friday to shave the heads of those who came through, and United Blood Services were also at the station as dozens of people volunteered to give blood.

Engineer Jack Franklin, an EMT who was celebrated in 2012 for saving the life of Timorie Millender, was one of those who came in on Friday.

His teenage daughter, Tori, came with him on Friday morning to watch her dad get his head shaved. She urged him to shave off his trademark mustache as well, but Franklin was firm on that point.

"That's not going to happen," he said.

shave heads
EdEEd Fuentes of the M ontecito Fire Protection District gets his head shaved Friday by Paul Mitchell School's Justin Marrs. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Franklin was more than happy to shave his head in solidarity with Corbett, however.

"This is a second family to all of us," he said of the city fire department.

Even though the event wasn't advertised, firefighters from other agencies also came out to show their support for Corbett.

Montecito Fire Protection District engineer Ed Fuentes also sat under a black smock as Paul Mitchell's Justin Marrs shaved Fuentes' head.

He said he was there to show solidarity with Corbett, even though Fuentes didn't know him personally.

Bryant, who has been the liaison between Corbett's family and the department, met Corbett while he was working as a responding officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department. The pair would respond to incidents downtown, Bryant as a freighter and Corbett as an officer, and forged a friendship.

When Corbett began to work for city fire, he was stationed for a time at Station Four on Ontare Road, where Bryant was his supervisor.

Bryant has a medical background and is a registered nurse, and recalled when Corbett called him to tell him about his cancer diagnosis.

"He shared with me how the events unfolded and asked if I would support him," Bryant said. "Of course I said I would be there for him."

Bryant said Corbett has a great support network, between the family and the department.

"One of the things he asked me was, 'Does anybody care?'" Bryant recalled. "I had to explain to him that I couldn't keep my phone charged because of all the calls and texts I was getting from people concerned about him."

Donations to Corbett's support fund can be made by clicking here.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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