By Geena Martinez
MIDLAND - A local firefighter with nearly three decades of service is fighting a battle of his own: cancer.
At the Midland Fire Department it's more like a band of brothers than coworkers so when one brother is down they all feel it.
"He's been the backbone and he's helped us through so much and we only wanna help him in his time of need," Eric Stewart, Vice-President of the Professional Firefighters Association of Midland, said.
Stewart is talking about Lee Wise, a firefighter who's battling stomach cancer.
Wise is a captain at station eight and he's been with the department for 27 years.
"He's my idol," Stewart said. "Anytime I need something, he's the one I call."
Wise has been fighting the disease for a few years now.
He was in remission but the cancer came back and medical bills are through the roof.
He recently went to Dallas to undergo an experimental surgery but we're told when he got there, he was met with bad news.
"I believe there they said it was out of the scope of what the insurance would pay," Stewart said.
But his fellow firefighters are stepping in to help.
They've held a golf tournament and poker tournament to bring some financial relief but they're not finished yet.
"C-shift, station six right here, we've asked all the stations and their shift to match a $1,000 donation that we've decided that we're gonna come up with," Stewart said.
They're also asking for community donations to be made to the Professional Firefighters Association of Midland, an organization Wise helped establish.
"This is something he shouldn't have to go through right at retirement time," Stewart said. "These should be the days that he's spending with his family, his grand kids and enjoying this."
Stewart said it's the least they can do for someone who has given so much to his job and to his city.
"These are our family," Stewart said. "We live with these guys 24 hours at a time. We spend a third of our life with them. He's dedicated his life to the community so it's only fair."