WEST CHAZY - Jim Garrant isn't embarrassed to wear pink. In fact, he's proud to.
Garrant is president of the newly formed Northern New York chapter of the Guardians of the Ribbon - a nonprofit organization working to raise money and awareness for cancer in women and children.
The group is made up mostly of law enforcement agents and firefighters, of which Garrant has been for the last 32 years. However, it wasn't just because he was a fire fighter Garrant became interested in the Guardians.
"My wife is a breast cancer survivor," he explained. "And, I've lost a couple of aunts to cancer and an uncle."
A couple months ago, Garrant's son, Jeremy, noticed a Youtube clip about the Guardians, featuring a pink fire truck. Immedietly Garrant contacted founder Dave immediately and began the 14th chapter of the Guardians of the Ribbon in the U.S., and the first in New York.
In just two short months, the local chapter already has 14 members.
"Right now, I've got three or four in my department, just from word of mouth," he explained, referring to the West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department.
Other members are from fire departments in Beekmantown and South Plattsburgh.
One of the current goals of the chapter is to get enough donations to purchase a pink fire truck, which Garrant expects to cost about $10,000.
"Once we get started, we'll be traveling all around New York," he said. "I've got people wanting us already to go to Syracuse for an event out there."
Getting the pink fire truck is important to the organization, because it not only raises awareness, but spirits as well.
Garrant explained Graybill's fire trucks are covered with autographs and messages from people across the country who have seen the truck. Something Garrant plans to do with the local chapter as well.
"Dave's got over 3,000 autographs and messages on his two trucks," said Garrant. "It's covered. It's just kind of a thing to raise their spirits, show support."
When the chapter receives their truck, they will attend fundraising events and volunteer in any way they can. And, they don't take any of the money from the fundraising.
"The only way that we raise money [is] we sell shirts and raffle tickets," he explained. "That pays for fuel for the truck and expenses."
Despite not having a truck yet, Garrant and the other members recently attended the benefit for 5-year-old Audrey Napper who is currently battling a rare form of childhood cancer.
However, Garrant believes having the truck will attract more people to events. But in order to get one, they need help from the community.
Donations from individuals and businesses are currently being accepted by Garrant. They can be mailed to Guardians of the Ribbon Chapter 14, c/o Jim Garrant, 726 Stratton Hill Road, West Chazy N.Y. 12992.
"I know with the economy the way it is today, it's hard for people," said Garrant. "But our biggest thing is trying to raise funds for the truck and get out."
For more information, contact Garrant at 493-5906, 578-0331, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The chapter can also be found on Facebook by searching "Guardians of the Ribbon - Northern New York State Chapter." For more information about the national organization, visit www.pinkfiretruck.org.