‘Pink Heals’ fire truck tour comes through Michiana
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- They call themselves one of the largest ‘philanthropic fire departments in the world.’ And their national tour to bring healing to those struggling is in Michiana this week.
“When they see us come to town, they should know that we’re there to love and support them and encourage them to keep on moving,” said Justin Cook, a volunteer tour driver for Pink Heals.
Around 12:30 Thursday afternoon, a line of fire trucks darted toward downtown Stevensville with their sirens blaring.
A bright pink fire truck stood out in the middle of the procession.
Though there wasn’t an emergency, the trucks were on a mission.
In minutes, the fire engines pulled into the parking lot of Features Hair Studio.
“I came all the way from Texas to give you a hug,” one firefighter said, as he embraced Kathy Christy outside her studio.
“And [to] tell you we love you,” he said.
Pink Heals strives to bring joy to those suffering.
“I started out with breast cancer and then it went into my bones, so I’m struggling with that right now,” Christy said.
But on Thursday afternoon, she wasn’t a cancer patient, she was the Pink Heals’ latest honoree.
“We would be honored if you’d sign our truck, so we could take your story with us wherever we go,” one firefighter said.
The pink fire truck acts as a canvas for words of hope.
Message by message, it becomes a symbol of surprising support.
Christy was one of several Michiana residents to be honored and to sign the truck this week.
“I can’t even say – I’m speechless,” she said. “I mean, it’s just very, very nice.”
The men and women who emerge from the pink truck, and who are outfitted in their own pink gear, are firefighters who volunteer their time to crisscross the country in the custom fire engine.
“Whenever we see a tear or, you know, just a smile, we’ve done our job as human beings at the end of the day,” Cook said.
The Bridgman Fire Department invited Pink Heals to Michiana.
“Normally when we’re at somebody’s house or business, it’s for an emergency call,” said Bridgman Fire Department Lieutenant Jeff Starbuck. “And doing something like this is totally – a different feeling that you get.”
There are four volunteers on tour for Pink Heals right now – three firefighters from Texas and one from North Carolina.
They spent Thursday evening at the Bridgman High School football game, where they sold hats and t-shirts that help fund their travels.
The group will be in the South Bend area on Friday and at the Notre Dame game on Saturday.
The organization is entirely volunteer-based, so all money raised by merchandise sales goes toward things like fuel for the trucks and hotel rooms when needed.