The firefighters at The Springfield Fire and Rescue Division are more like brothers — if not in blood, it’s in spirit.
The fire department and the greater community is rallying around Vince McCoy, a firefighter who’s fighting a battle of a different kind.
McCoy was diagnosed in April 2017 with a meningioma (benign) tumor on his brain stem and a cerebral cystic lesion.
“They think it’s been in his head for about 30 years. It’s extremely large and fibrous, so they can’t shrink it. They can only try to go in and remove it,” his wife, Carol McCoy said.
The removal of the tumor also poses a risk because it’s surrounded by essential nerves. Vince is only 47 years old, but he’s already gone through three brain surgeries in about a year’s time and is currently going through high-risk radiation — enough to take a financial and emotional toll on any family. Vince and Carol also have two adult children.
“It’s definitely a roller coaster because every time we take a step forward, two steps back,” Carol McCoy said.
On Saturday, the community is invited to attend the Victory for Vince Fundraiser at the Clark County Fairgrounds’ Champion Center. Proceeds will go directly to benefit the McCoy family.
“We don’t need anymore proof that bad things happen to good people,” said Springfield Fire Chief Brian Miller. “Vince is an outstanding person, and any help that the community is willing to give — I guarantee you he has already thought about you to give back.”
Miller said McCoy has been with the fire department for about 10 years, but has had to miss almost 85 percent of this year due to his illness.
“We do really count on each other to protect each others lives. So when you have somebody whose life is in danger from something we don’t feel we have control of, it’s very scary,” Miller said.
Rhonda Brown is Carol McCoy’s best friend of 20 years and the organizer of Victory for Vince. She fought back tears as she spoke of the McCoy family.
“I’ve been there since day one when this started, and I just wanted to do something for them because they’re such good people,” Brown said. “They’ve always been the givers.”
Both Carol McCoy and Miller mentioned a story of Vince giving his time and effort to a total stranger — something they said was a regular occurence. An elderly woman received a shoddy home repair, and Vince personally tracked down the contractor and made sure the job was done right.
“By the nature of the job (of a firefighter), he lives a life of service,” Miller said. “But I’d say Vince is a little bit special. He goes above and beyond.”
The cost of any brain surgery, let alone three is enough to shock someone’s wallet even with insurance — plus the expense for gas as Vince travels back and forth to Columbus regularly.
Brown said there have been other fundraisers over the course of Vince’s journey including a poker run and a golf outing, but she expects Saturday to be a big hit. Attractions will include auctions, 50/50 drawing, raffles, DJs, dancing, Monte Carlo and a cash bar.
McCoy and his family will also be in attendance on Saturday.
“The outpouring of love from the community, from the strangers is really humbling and overwhelming,” Carol McCoy said. “We are extremely blessed and grateful for all of that.”
The Victory for Vince Fundraiser will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10. Cash, check and credit cards will be accepted.
Anyone who is not able to attend the event can make donations to Victory for Vince at any Security National Bank location or send them to 350 N. Fountain Ave.
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