LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Cancer has become the number one cause of death among current and retired firefighters. One Lubbock man knows this all too well.
Joe Gillispie, a 20-year member of the Woodrow Volunteer Fire Department, was recently diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
Gillispie plays a big part in his community. He is the groundskeeper for Lubbock Cooper ISD, the Chaplain and member of the Woodrow Fire Department, as well as an active member of his church. His wife, Susan, and one of his three sons own All Seasons Property Care.
The Superintendent of LCISD, Keith Bryant, spoke to KCBD NewsChannel 11 about Gillispie.
"Yeah, Joe is a giver. If you could define Joe Gillispie in one word, it is that he is a giver. He's a guy that would give the shirt off his back to anyone."
Reagan Stuart, a long-time friend of Joe's and member of All Seasons Property Care, said the same.
"Joe is very much a giving person. He'll give the shirt off his back for 'em."
Now, the Lubbock community is returning the favor. Saturday evening, June 2, from 6 to 11 p.m., Cook's Garage is hosting the Joe Gillispie Love Fund Benefit. Reagan Stuart and Myles Thomason, the fire chief of the Woodrow Fire Department are the main organizers behind the event.
Susan Gillispie says they wouldn't do anything different, even knowing about the cancer diagnosis.
"I don't have any blame, we don't feel any guilt or remorse. 'Why did he go into this career?' He would do it all again the same."
Joe Gillispie says that he couldn't have gone through this whole ordeal without his wife.
"30 years ago, I asked God to send me a Godly woman... and boy he did. She's been by my side for 30 years and (she's a) great wife, mom, grandmother. It's just... wow. I wouldn't be where I'm at. I just couldn't ask for anything better."