Friday, May 27, 2016
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The Grady County Fire Department painted its new brush truck pink to support those battling breast cancer. Pictured, from left, Senator Ron Justice, Christie Rainey, Mayor and former Pocasset Station Chief, Dale Thompson, Director Grady County Emergency Management, Kalera Weyrick, FF Pocasset, Kirk Spurlin, Pocasset Station Chief, Gary Teague, Owner of Teague Body Shop, Mike Heilman, Owner of Chief Fire & Safety Co. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)
Pocasset Station Chief and Pocasset Mayor Christie Rainey check out a new brush truck that was painted pink. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)
By Jeff Harrison
Managing Editor

CHICKASHA - The sight of a shiny red fire truck roaring down the street is hard to miss.
The Grady County Fire Department recently welcomed a new shiny truck to its fleet.
It is not red. But it is striking.

The volunteer department showed off its new pink brush pumper truck Friday morning during a dedication ceremony near the sheriff’s department. The Ford F550 truck received a custom paint job and special “Find the Cure” decals in an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer.

“Breast cancer is such an important issue and we thought that would be a good way to get more awareness out there,” Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said. “This is the first pink one in the state. And there aren’t too many of them in the state.”

County firefighters, businesses owners, and Sen. Ron Justice attended the dedication ceremony.
Thompson said the truck will be used at the Pocasset fire station. It will replace a unit that  was destroyed in a July 2011 wildfire near Chickasha. Pocasset Fire Chief and Mayor Christie Rainey and Cpt. Trent Wildman were both injured when the vehicle stalled as they tried to escape the burning area.

“We were driving out to get more water and had already gotten through the fire line when the truck died,” Rainey said. “We couldn’t get the truck started again and the fire overtook us. We had to jump out and run.”

Even though they were wearing protective gear, both firefighters suffered burns.

“I believe that God was with me that day,” Rainey said. “He is in my life every day. This didn’t make me any stronger of a Christian, because I believe in God and he’s going to take care of me.”

Rainey suffered first and second degree burns on her face, hands, legs and chest. Wildman received first degree burns on his face. Rainey said she’s still recovering from the burns.

“I still have trouble with both knees and I haven’t been totally released yet,” Rainey said. “And I probably will never fight a fire again. And that’s hard.”

This vehicle was purchased from Chief Fire & Safety Co. Inc. out of Chickasha, with the bid of little over $80,000. Gary Teague with Teague Auto Body, located near Chickasha, painted the vehicle.

“We got the paint codes from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in Oklahoma City and they matched it up and painted that color,” Thompson said. “And we added the ribbon/house on there. That was my design.”

The cost of this unit was covered by donations, grants from various state funded organizations, donation from the Town of Pocasset, and the Pocasset Fire Station.

“It didn’t cost the county or citizens any money,” Thompson said. “It was all paid for with donations and grants.”
Rainey suggested painting the truck pink and the station agreed to it.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, you know someone that has had some type of cancer,” Rainey said. “I figured this would be the best way to show people that we care and support them.”

The majority of the funds were provided by grants. The county received a $30,000 REAP grant through the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG). The State Commerce Department matched it with a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

“The REAP program was set up specifically for rural Oklahoma and it’s been very successful,” Sen. Justice said. “These communities have really done an excellent job utilizing the dollars that are spent across the state. Through those REAP dollars they’ve saved a lot of properties and lives. And since they have better fire departments, they also helped lower insurance premiums.”

The old brush truck was a 2008 Ford with just 2,300 miles on it. Thompson said the vehicle was a total loss with an estimated value of $45,000. The county, which had a $50,000 deductible, did not receive any money from insurance.

Since the fire, the Pocasset station has been using another truck from the Harold station.

The Pocasset fire station of 12 volunteer units that make up the Grady County Fire Department.

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