Real men wear pink at State Tech

By Matt Haines
Posted 10/14/20

Nick Rackers is a Commercial Turf and Grounds Instructor in the Agricultural Department at State Tech. He says there are three kinds of student attracted to the program: landscapers, golf course …

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Real men wear pink at State Tech

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Nick Rackers is a Commercial Turf and Grounds Instructor in the Agricultural Department at State Tech. He says there are three kinds of student attracted to the program: landscapers, golf course managers, and athletic field managers. He keeps a record of all the pro teams his students are employed at by hanging their team’s flag on a wall, aptly called, The Wall, which is almost completely covered by flags. One of those flags is for the Kansas City Chiefs. Right now, Rackers is probably walking around in pink shoes.

Last year, State Tech President Dr. Shawn Strong raised awareness for breast cancer by wearing pink every day during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Wearing pink is a key tactic in the support of breast cancer awareness. In coordination with Deutsches Heim and the State Tech student body, Dr. Strong managed to raise $$1,296.60 for breast cancer programs.

This year, Rackers is wearing pink as a chapter lead for Real Men Wear Pink of Mid-Missouri.

“I knew it meant that I had to wear pink,” said Rackers. “And I knew that that I had to raise money and then I thought well, you know, having events to raise money during the pandemic meant that some people either weren't going to come out or couldn't come out.”

So he did what any man in his situation would have done: he painted enormous pink ribbons in his lawn.

The Real Men Wear Pink of Mid-Missouri is a breast cancer awareness and fundraising drive with just a dash of competition. There are 52 chapters in the Real Men Wear Pink of Mid-Missouri which rally around events like golf outings, donut sales, and running 5Ks in an inflatable pink dinosaur.

“This is a campaign for breast cancer awareness and fundraising and all of the proceeds that are raised go towards breast cancer research,” says Rackers. “The [ACS] had given everybody a goal of $2,500 and there's a $50,000 [collective] goal.”

So far, Rackers has relied on his own social network and a little ingenuity. Using a stencil borrowed from one of his former students employed at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Rackers outlined the first ribbons in his back yard.

“I'm not painting the NFL logo, but it is the NFL logo banner,” Rackers explained.

After he posted the pictures of his handiwork online, another of his students in the Kansas City Chiefs’ organization contacted him, asking to spread the word. Rackers sold 10 before October began, one as far away as Higginsville.

“What I really need is a paint sponsor,” said Rackers, “I need somebody because right now it's all out of my pocket. It takes like $15 per ribbon in paint [and] I don't know how many I'm going to sell.”

At $50 for 25 square feet of pink ribbon, it’s a light-hearted way to show neighbors and passers-by that breast cancer is everywhere.

“Breast cancer affects everyone - it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman,“ said Rackers.

Thankfully, survival rates are high for people who diagnose early. As early detection is a critical factor to survival, awareness programs like this one have formed to promote early detection in an effort to halt the spread of breast cancer. To learn more please take a picture of this QR code on your cell phone or smart device.

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