A 1969 fire truck that will help spread cancer awareness when it’s turned pink has returned to Tyler. Steve Countryman, chairman of the firefighters’ Cancer Awareness and Relief Effort, said Sam and Connie Greenberg’s family purchased the truck in 2004 and used it for birthday parties and other events.
Then in 2010, they approached the Tyler Fire Department about donating the truck, and it was suggested they donate it to the Pink Heals Tour, which is based in Phoenix, he said.
Countryman said the fire department kept track of the truck after its donation, and unfortunately, the truck wasn’t able to be used since the time the Greenbergs donated it.
So he said the department asked the family whether the truck could come back to Tyler.
“We thought that we’d bring the truck back here, and we can use it for its intended purpose, and that was for cancer awareness and relief efforts,” Countryman said.
Tyler Professional Fire Fighters Association President Tony Gumber said a committee was organized to plan the best way to get the vehicle.
“Although the truck … is drivable, we thought that might be a little bit difficult,” he said.
Gumber said a committee member went out and searched for trucking companies, got bids and prices, and L3 Enterprises, owned by Jeff Plath, offered to take on the task.
“That was a tremendous amount of savings,” he said. “All the members of our association embraced the idea of bringing the truck back and being able to get it back and get it painted pink and being able to have it out to honor the women struggling with cancer.”
He said Friday marked the culmination of work for its return, and now they will move forward with getting the truck’s paint job.
Countryman said they will raise funds to paint it pink, and an account has been opened at Citizens State Bank.
He said the goal is to use the truck to help promote the Turn Tyler Pink event and other events. He said Tyler firefighters have participated in women’s cancer events for a number of years. That includes Relay for Life, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Bras for the Cause.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tyler Affiliate Board President Bryan Campbell thanked the department for its continued support and its efforts to spread cancer awareness.
“What started as an effort to help a young mother and wife of a firefighter fighting breast cancer in 2008 has turned into a communitywide … event — Turn Tyler Pink,” he said. “Shortly after that event in 2008, the Tyler Fire Department and its CARE committee partnered with the Susan G. Komen-Tyler Affiliate allowing Komen to be one of the beneficiaries of the funds raised at Turn Tyler Pink, and the partnership between our organizations has remained strong ever since.”
Campbell said the department doesn’t stop with Turn Tyler Pink and shows support by sponsoring the annual Race for the Cure. He said there’s fire department representation on the race committee, and firefighters help with set up and tear down. He said the Komen board also has representation from the department.
“Since the inception of Turn Tyler Pink, the Susan G. Komen-Tyler Affiliate has been both a partner and a supporter,” Campbell said. “Both organizations share the core mission to help breast cancer patients and give back to our local community.”
“We are excited about the possibilities that having this fire truck in the Tyler area will offer to Turn Tyler Pink and hope that its presence will bring a larger awareness to the fight against breast cancer.”
Countryman said he feels the truck is another tool to go out in the community, whether it’s visiting women battling cancer or attending events.
“I am glad that Steve Countryman was able to get the truck back here for their Pink Heals fundraising efforts and cancer awareness here in Tyler,” Sam Greenberg said. “While my family made great memories on the old truck, it now has a new direction and new owners, and all the Greenbergs wish them the best and will support them any way possible.