By Shandi Dix, Fort Riley Public AffairsOctober 13, 2011
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Throughout the month of October, members of Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services will sport pink T-shirts in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"This is something that we have decided to do to honor and remember Family members that have lost their battle and to help inspire the fight within for those who are dealing with it now," said FES Capt. Marty Coufal.
FES kicked off its support with a visit from Nicki, a 1987 Pierce Lance Fire Engine Pumper that has been transformed to pink, during this year's Fall Apple Day Festival Sept. 24. Nicki is one of seven pink fire trucks across the nation that is part of the Pink Heals Tour.
The Pink Heals Tour is part of the Guardians of the Ribbon Inc., founded in January 2007 by Dave Graybill, a Glendale, Ariz., firefighter. Graybill has since retired from the department to dedicate his full attention to the Pink Heals Tour.
Each truck in the pink fleet is named after a female who has battled cancer.
"The truck allows women to sign it and know that they are not alone in this fight and have a whole lot of love and support from their respective communities," Coufal said. "The truck is a rolling tribute to all that have battled this dreadful disease and will keep fighting until a cure is found."
Nicki is the pink truck representative of the Wichita Area Chapter for Guardians of the Ribbon, Inc.
The truck, donated to the Wichita chapter by the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department in January 2011, was painted by Norris Collision Center in Goddard, Kan.
Since being dedicated by the citizens of Lawrence June 7, Nicki has traveled to more than 30 events throughout Kansas, where more than 7,600 women have signed their name or written inspirational messages to others on the truck.
Wearing pink T-shirts is another way for the department to show support to all that suffer from this, Coufal said.
Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month holds a special meaning to Coufal.
"My Family has a history of breast cancer and other types of cancer. I have lost Family members to this disease, and I have some who have fought it and are in remission at this time. I do all that I can to help with this worthwhile cause and will keep fighting for them," he said.
For more information, visit www.pinkhealskansas.org.