MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

December 2, 2012

Barge carries a message

Pink craft brings along awareness of breast cancer

— Barges full of fertilizer are not uncommon at the Port of Muskogee, but a pink one there this week might be a first.

The barge, which hauled about 15,000 pounds of fertilizer to the Port, is part of the Ceres Barge Line’s effort to raise awareness of breast cancer. The barge line in East St. Louis, Ill., also seeks to raise money for the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center.

Visitors can view the pink barge, Big Hope 1, at 1 p.m. Thursday during a fundraiser at Three Forks Harbor.

The 200-by-35-foot barge arrived in Muskogee on Wednesday and was unloaded Thursday.

Port Director Scott Robinson succinctly summed up the barge’s appearance: “Pink.”

Ceres Barge Line co-owner Mark Fletcher said Big Hope 1 carries cargo along rivers. The company donates a portion of its revenues to the Mary Crowley center. He said the barge has raised about $200,000.

Fletcher said Ceres encourages its customers to donate directly to the center through its website.

Ceres regularly ships along the Arkansas River, with stops at Muskogee, Inola, Catoosa and Fort Smith, Ark.

The Port of Muskogee will seek to raise more money for Big Hope 1’s efforts with a special fundraiser Thursday, said Marie Seabolt, deputy director of business development at the Port of Muskogee.

“We’re already inviting Rotarians to host their meeting at the River Center building,” Seabolt said. “Then, at 1 p.m., we are encouraging the public to come see the barge.”

The Port will sell pink hard hats, bearing Big Hope 1’s logo, for $20 each. Seabolt said she hopes to sell 140 hats and already has orders for 42.

The Port also is working with the cancer center at Eastar Health Center to have breast cancer survivors attend the program, Seabolt said. Muskogee Mayor Bob Coburn will make a proclamation, she said.

The Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center seeks to expand treatment options for cancer patients through investigational vaccine, gene and cellular therapies, its website says. Its office is in Dallas.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT:  Big Hope 1, a pink barge.

WHEN: 1 p.m. Thursday.

WHERE: Three Forks Harbor, 5201 Three Forks Road, Fort Gibson.

DONATE: Buy a pink hard hat at the event or go online to www.

marycrowley.org, click on “donations” tab, then BIG HOPE 1.

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