Gary McCutchen Overcomes Heart Attack To Continue Serving Community


48-years-old, living a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly. This doesn’t sound like a heart attack victim. But unfortunately in the fire service it often is, as OFPD Captain Gary McCutchen learned firsthand.

Ongoing shift work, disrupted sleep, heat stress, and fluid loss can all lead to ongoing cardiovascular problems for firefighters. These preexisting heart issues combined with the stress during, or after, an emergency call can result in sudden cardiac death, which consistently accounts for approximately half of on-duty firefighting fatalities.

As a profession, firefighting is hard on the body, as many have learned by suffering a debilitating injury or a life-threatening medical diagnosis before they reach retirement age. Prop. F, on the Nov. 3 ballot, would provide additional funding for the District’s pension fund, which provides for the retirement of our firefighters. If approved by the community, it would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $3.17 a month, around the cost of McDonald’s Happy Meal.

You can learn more about this proposal here or by calling 636.272.3493.

Mark Stenger’s Cancer Journey

Cancer. It is a word that strikes fear the moment it is heard, and O’Fallon Fire Protection District retired Battalion Chief Mark Stenger has heard it from doctors countless times since 2012.

During every shift, firefighters are exposed to cancer-causing materials while assisting with car accidents, fighting fires and performing rescue operations. This ongoing exposure results in cancer being the number one cause of death for active firefighters, resulting in up to 70% of line-of-duty deaths yearly.

Cancer, cardiac arrest and career-ending injuries often result in firefighters leaving the fire service before their retirement benefits are available. Today, working to the point of retirement means a firefighter needs to stay on active duty until they are well into their 60s, with more than 30 years of service.

Funding from Prop. F would give many of our firefighters the opportunity to retire before they become disabled, or receive a life-threatening medical diagnosis, and protect the level of emergency services we receive.

You can learn more about this proposal here or by calling 636.272.3493.