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Friday, October 23, 2015

The PGFD Pink Story

The PGFD Pink Story

PGFDs "Pink-Team" campaign was born after Firefighter/Paramedic Rebecca Richardson and Firefighter Brandon Goff  approached Fire Chief Bashoor with an extremely unusual offer.  Adam J. Blackman, who owns and operates Three-Four Wraps, offered to donate the wrap and services to outfit one of our County fire engines in a pink cover.  Blackman had lost several close family members to breast cancer was was on a "mission of Love"  in wrapping the engine in pink.  

Montgomery County Fire Fighter Marshall Moneymaker has spoke at two of our pink apparatus housing events and  shared his personal story of a family history ravaged by the affects of breast cancer.  Three sisters in Moneymakers's family have succumbed to the affects of this insidious disease over the past several years.  The first engine, wrapped in pink, is currently assigned to full time emergency response service at the Croom Road fire station, was named "Pinky" by PGFD staff.  As they say, "the rest is history".

Subsequently, with funding provided by County Executive Rushern Baker and the Prince George's County Council, Chief Bashoor has commissioned the manufacture of two brand new pink-painted response units.  There is no difference in cost to paint a unit pink vs. red or any other traditional color.  One pink fire engine and one pink transport ambulance have been placed into full time service around the County. This is the only in-service fleet of pink response units in the region.

With the advent of these new units, the Department conducted a social media 'naming' campaign to provide identity for the units. The 2014 Pierce engine assigned to the Capital Heights station was named "Courage", while the 2014 Freightliner/Horton paramedic transport unit assigned to the College Park station was named "Hope."  In addition to being painted pink and white, "Courage" sports a lavender reflective safety-stripe.  Together the pink and lavender design represents cancer-awareness across the disease spectrum.

These pink units have been showcased at events across the region, including; the United States Congressional Women's Softball tournament, the Naval District Washington 5k run, the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, Annapolis St Baldricks fundraisers, and various other events and conferences.  The units are always favorites and are routinely recognized as emotional boosters for cancer survivors and those now suffering from the disease.

The next phase of the "pink-team campaign" was allowing employees and volunteers to wear pink uniform shirts during the month of October (breast cancer awareness month),  Members voluntarily purchase their own shirts and sport them during emergency responses during October, further spreading the cancer awareness message across all 45 community-based fire/EMS stations. Over 900 of the 2015 shirts were purchased, resulting in a contribution of over $6,000 to a local charity.  The sale of PGFD pink shirts has raised an estimated $30,000 for local Breast Cancer associated charities over the 5-year campaign.

Chief Bashoor said, "Our folks are proud to help not only raise awareness, but also to raise funds for cancer research.  Breast cancer has recently affected my immediate family, so I am especially honored, humbled, and very proud to steward our efforts in cancer awareness.  The message and mission of cancer awareness and research are especially poignant and personal for me this year.  Together, the unique 'PGFD Pink Team' raises cancer awareness and encourages cancer research and prevention across our communities."

The Fire/EMS Department is honored to be able to present a replica model of our pink engine "Courage" that is available to order and arrive in time for the holiday season.  A donation from each sale of this replica model will be made to the American Cancer Society.  For information on ordering this replica model, please click here

Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker comments on PGFD Pink Campaign

2 engines and a medic unit comprise of our PGFD Pink Fleet.  Image by Mike Yourishin

County Executive Baker, Fire Chief Bashoor with PGFD personnel.  Photo by Mike Yourishin

PGFD pink replica model engine "Courage" that is available to order and arrive in time for the holiday season. 

PGFD pink replica model engine "Courage" that is available to order and arrive in time for the holiday season.