Guilford’s pink firetruck spreading cancer awareness

Posted April 29, 2011, at 2:44 p.m.

GUILFORD, Maine — A 1970 American Cargo truck used to fight the enemy in Iraq is now being used by Guilford to help suppress forest and grass fires — and to help in the fight against cancer.

The former U.S. Army truck loaned to the town from the Maine Forest Service used to be a dull camouflage green, but it has recently been transformed by firefighters and other volunteers into a pink beauty that carries an important message of cancer awareness.

When the town accepted the truck several years ago, it came with a requirement that it had to be repainted a color other than camouflage green, Guilford Town Manager Tom Goulette said Friday. The firefighters left the requirement unfulfilled over the years because of the cost and time involved, and each year the subject came up when a Maine Forest Service representative made his annual inspection of the vehicle.

It wasn’t until firefighters hatched a plan to give the vehicle a dual purpose that the drive kicked in to paint the vehicle, Goulette said. Firefighters discussed and later agreed to paint the truck pink for breast cancer awareness. After all, cancer had struck close to home by taking the wives of two of the Guilford department’s firefighters, he said.

Marty Lowell of Guilford, who operates Lowell’s Auto Parts of Newport, volunteered his time to paint the truck. Firefighter Jeff Libby made other improvements to the truck with some assistance from co-workers. All that remains is the lettering on the doors along with some pink ribbon decals.

On Friday, the truck left its bay for the first time since its repainting, and its appearance caused more than a few heads to turn. And that is what firefighters had hoped — that those who spot the truck realize cancer must be extinguished the same as grass and forest fires.