Acting Senior Process Coach Kim Austin always wore a high visibility vest while on the job in truck final at Kansas City Assembly Plant. However, the standard yellow or orange seemed a bit ordinary to her. Having a zest for uniqueness, Kim wanted to stand out even more.
Upon doing some research, Kim found a neon pink safety vest which was approved by the safety team. “As long as it was high-visibility and reflective, I thought, that was the main thing,” said Kim. So one morning Kim woke up and arrived to work wearing her pink vest. “I wanted to be bright and different,” she said.
Marlene Cooper, crew manager for C-crew, saw Kim’s vest and it struck a personal chord with her. Since October is breast cancer awareness month and the symbolic color is pink, Marlene felt the pink vest was a great idea and something which could be worn by women or men.
Marlene quickly asked Kim where she found it and before long, Marlene was asking every one of the team managers and senior process coaches their sizes and ordering each of them a pink vest.
“I had looked on the Warriors in Pink merchandise, but nothing applied to women and men,” Marlene said. “The safety vests were fitting to everyone in the department.”
Breast cancer is something which has a close personal tie to Marlene’s family as she lost a grandmother to the disease and has a male cousin who has battled it as well. “Everyone in life either knows someone who has had it, or known someone who has been affected by it,” she said.
Seeing a sea of pink vests around the department touched Marlene’s heart. She knew in that moment that when anyone would ask what the pink vests were about, she could tell them the story with pride.
“It was truly a cool feeling to see everyone in their pink vests, both women and men;” said Marlene, “And to know that they were supporting this cause was a wonderful thing.”