When Federal Firefighters of Hawaii Local F-263 Secretary Douglas Barbieto was ordered by doctors to stay home while in treatment for cancer, he faced taking leave without pay as federal fire fighters have no presumptive protections. With his healthcare and finances at risk, Barbieto’s Local F-263 brothers and sisters stepped in, donating more than 5,500 hours of leave so Barbieto could focus on his recovery.
“I am very proud of the way our members rallied behind Brother Barbieto,” says Local F-263 President Reid Shimabukuro. “Some gave one day while others donated a few weeks, but everyone gave something. It really was an incredible display of solidarity to ensure our brother maintains his pay and benefits as he fights to beat cancer.”
An 18-year veteran fire fighter, Barbieto was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017, but doctors discovered this year that the cancer had spread to his bones.
The donated leave will guarantee Barbieto will reach the minimum number of years he needs to retire. He is thankful retirement is an option but is intent on beating the cancer and returning to the job.