The pink fire truck owned by the Northern New York chapter of Guardians of the Ribbon is currently out of commission as it awaits repair work. A spaghetti dinner is planned this Sunday, Aug. 21, to raise money for the truck, seen here at a recent benefit in Plattsburgh.
They’re down, but they’re not out.
The Northern New York chapter of Guardians of the Ribbon — a nonprofit organization working to raise money and awareness for cancer in women and children — has had a bit of a setback with moving forward with its mission. The chapter’s pink fire truck, which has become a familiar sight across the North Country since it was purchased earlier this year, has run into some mechanical problems.
James E. Garrant from the West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department, who serves as president of the chapter, said the truck has broken leaf springs which will need to be replaced before the truck can be put back on the road. The truck, which is displayed at various community fundraising events, has been out of commission for nearly two weeks, having last been used at a benefit in Plattburgh for Matthew Cech, a young boy with mitochondrial disease.
“We were on the way home when we felt something wasn’t right,” recalled Garrant. “So, we brought it in to be check out and that’s when we found out what was wrong.”
The cost to replace the truck’s leaf springs could be “anywhere up to $3,000,” said Garrant. The chapter will have a better idea of the cost upon further inspection of the truck this week, he said.
“Right now, it’s not safe to drive,” said Garrant.
One silver lining for the situation, Garrant added, is that Dennis Pilon, owner of Pilon Transport and Towing in Chazy, has offered to perform the work free of charge for the department. Pilon, who serves as captain of the Chazy Volunteer Fire Department, said he felt compelled to help because he lost both his mother and grandmother to cancer.
“It kind of hits home for me,” said Pilon.
Garrant said he hopes the truck — named “Kathy” in honor of Garrant’s wife, a three-year cancer survivor — will be up and running again soon.
“It’s the centerpiece of our whole chapter,” Garrant said of the fire truck. “We’ve even had people down in Saratoga talking about it and had requests to take it to Albany. It’s important to have it out there as a message of hope.”
The chapter will host a spaghetti dinner this Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Beekmantown Volunteer Fire Department, 6973 State Route 22, from 12 to 6 p.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit the cost of repairing the fire truck. The menu will consist of spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, dinner roll, butter coffee, milk and dessert.
The cost of the dinner will be $8 per person. Take-outs will be available.
Dinner by dinner, Garrant hopes to raise enough to get “Kathy” back on the road.
“Every little bit helps,” Garrant said of raising money for the truck repairs.
Those interested in helping contribute to the fire truck repair fund may reach Garrant at 578-0331 or send donations in care of Guards of the Ribbon Northern New York Chapter to 726 Stratton Hill Road, West Chazy N.Y. 12992.