By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
Muskogee Fire Department Capt. John Tipton said he takes pride that one of the department’s pumper trucks has turned pink.
Pink is recognized as the color for awareness of breast cancer — a disease his wife has survived.
“Anyone who has had breast cancer is a hero to me,” Tipton said. “I’d rather crawl through a burning house than have breast cancer and go through breast reconstruction.”
Tipton and other firefighters covered a pumper truck with pink adhesive decals last week. The truck also has a logo featuring the breast cancer awareness pink ribbon symbol and “Muskogee Firefighters for a Cure.” October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The decals cost $1,400. The Muskogee Fire Department paid half the cost, and the International Association of Firefighters Local 57 paid the other half.
Tipton said about 20 firefighters spent a day putting the decals on.
“We started at 8:30 a.m. and finished at 6:30 p.m.,” he said. “We had a couple of them come in who were off duty.”
The firefighters also are selling light pink “Muskogee Firefighters for a Cure” T-shirts to raise money for a local breast cancer awareness foundation. The cost is $15 for sizes small to large; $17 for extra large and $18 for extra-extra large.
Tipton said his wife, Jill, learned of her breast cancer seven years ago. He recalled the shock and stress on her and the family.
“I helped with her dressings, I had to do all the housework because she couldn’t do it,” he recalled. “There was a lot of emotion involved.
“She had a double mastectomy. It was real scary for both of us.”
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.