Rescued rescue truck is pretty in pink

A local crew outfits the newest member of the Pink Heals fleet for use in cancer fund-raising efforts

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 10/22/20

The latest addition to Rhode Island’s ‘Pink Heals’ fleet was rolled out and delivered to the organization this week, after being restored at Bristol Auto Body.

As someone with …

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Rescued rescue truck is pretty in pink

A local crew outfits the newest member of the Pink Heals fleet for use in cancer fund-raising efforts

Posted

The latest addition to Rhode Island’s ‘Pink Heals’ fleet was rolled out and delivered to the organization this week, after being restored at Bristol Auto Body.

As someone with several family members who are involved with Pink Heals, Tom Carroll, general manager of Bristol Auto Body, is always surprised by how many people have not yet heard of the organization, whose Rhode Island chapter is celebrating its 10th year in 2020.

“Pink Heals is a national organization that fundraises to defray costs for patients with all types of cancer,” he said. Mr. Carroll’s niece is a firefighter in Tallahassee, Fla., and has helped restore two vehicles for the organization’s Florida chapter; his stepson, a Coventry police officer, is involved with the Rhode Island chapter.

So when Pink Heals picked up a more-than-30-year-old fire department hazard truck from a New Jersey volunteer fire department, it was Mr. Carroll’s stepson who recommended Bristol Auto Body for the needed restoration work. Initially put into service in 1987, the truck spent three days at Ground Zero in Sept. 2001 and displays a commemorative marker on the back, noting that service.

“This vehicle will be their fourth,” said Mr. Carroll. “In a normal year, Pink Heals will attend as many as 150 community events a year to take donations and sell merchandise, but with COVID they are relying almost exclusively on donations.” When Pink Heals attends an event or fundraiser, they invite survivors, family members, and patients to sign their names on the vehicle — a purpose for which this truck, with its expansive pink panels, is particularly well-suited.

The idea behind Pink Heals’s state chapters is simple: to raise money to assist men, women, and children battling all cancers, locally, with virtually all the money raised given back to the community. Rhode Island’s Pink Heals chapter is made up of firefighters, police officers, EMS workers, nurses, school teachers, survivors and more who want to help the people in their own community. For more information, visit www.ripinktrucks.com.

Bristol Auto Body began working on the vehicle back in August, fitting it in between their heavy workload of Bristol’s usual dents and scratches. They donated a significant amount of the required labor, and their vendors also offered materials discounts that helped defray costs. Another Bristol company, Hillhouse Graphics, did all the graphics and logo work.

“We stripped it down completely; it was originally red and white,” said Mr. Carroll. “It was quite a lot of work.”

“I’m very proud of these guys — they are remarkable craftsmen.”

“It looks absolutely gorgeous. We’re very pleased with the work,” said Pink Heals RI chapter treasurer Matt Medeiros. The truck’s interior will be outfitted by the group to carry their merchandise to events and will be ready by spring — when they can hopefully resume public events. But before then, the truck has one very important stop.

“All our vehicles are named for a cancer survivor, and the tradition is that person gets to be the first to sign their name,” Mr. Medeiros said. This truck is named Patricia, for Patricia Abbruzzese, a West Warwick resident and Mr. Medeiros’ mother. “Our first stop is going to be at her house,” he said.

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