Guardians of the Ribbon, Inc.
Wichita Area Chapter of the Pink Heals Tour

Our Fire Truck

She is really, really PINK!!

Meet NICKI, a 1987 Pierce Lance Fire Engine Pumper

We picked her up from the Lawrence - Douglas County Fire and Medical Department in Lawrence, Kansas on January 7th, 2011 when she had finished her reign of service to the Citizens of Lawrence.  NICKI was painted the most beautiful shade of PINK on April 30th, 2011. She had to cure for a full 30 days before her Decals could be applied on June 1st, 2011.  Just 2 days later, NICKI made a "Sneak Peek" appearance at the 40th Annual RiverFest Sundown Parade in Wichita, Kansas, where she received quite the attention of the parade and festival goers and won the Lt. Jack Galvin - People's Choice Award that came with a $1,000.00 prize!  (We are hoping to have air conditioning installed with that money so our volunteer drivers don't bake on their way to functions!)  We took NICKI back to Lawrence on June 7th, 2011 for her Dedication Ceremony at the Lawrence City Commissioner's Meeting and to receive her first set of signatures and sentiments from the very people - Survivors and Co-Survivors themselves - who were very instrumental in helping us obtain her.  Our "Official" Media Unveiling came on June 16th, 2011!  We are pleased to share with the Citizens and Survivors of Kansas and surrounding areas one of the newest Guardians of the Ribbon, as she spreads Love, Hope and Awareness everywhere she goes.

It is customary to name the pink fire trucks and all other pink emergency vehicles after a woman that has battled Cancer, or, who otherwise has had a profound affect on our organization.  When Nicki Janne learned that she had contracted Cancer in early January of 2010, her Fire Department Family rallied around her like no other!  It was one such friend in particular, Captain Bob Conger, who immediately sent her a photo of the prettiest pink fire truck she had ever seen to her Facebook page.  In fact, it was the ONLY pink fire truck she had ever seen!  ...and she's seen a LOT of fire trucks over the years!  Nicki's husband, Richard - a recent retiree from the Sedgwick County Fire Department after 34 years of service, collects antique fire trucks, so Bob joked that he was heading straight to Walmart to buy every can of pink spray paint they had and that he and another friend, Lieutenant Tom Richardson, would sneak over when Richard wasn't home and paint that 1928 International Boyer fire truck sitting out in the garage PINK!   Other friends soon jumped on the band wagon with our "strategy" and it wasn't long until a Wichita Fire Department friend, retired Captain Don Birmingham, put a photo of our antique fire truck into a program and turned it "pink" and then proceeded to put the image of it on Richard's Facebook page!  Richard was then teased that they finally accomplished painting his fire truck pink!

Of course, much laughter and silliness ensued for DAYS on end over the prospect of attempting to convince Richard to let us paint his baby pink, which helped keep Nicki very positive and happy even though she knew she had Stage 3 Breast Cancer!  She soon learned more about that beautiful pink fire truck and that it was all started by Dave Graybill, a firefighter in Arizona with his Guardians of the Ribbon, Inc. and the Pink Heals Tour.  She also soon learned that the closest they were coming to Wichita, Kansas would be in Kansas City, Kansas in late September.  She just knew it would be well worth the wait to see them!!!  The wheels were in motion well in advance of the National Pink Heals Tour stop in Kansas City to find a fire truck of our own to add to this noble and
gallant cause!  A couple of fire truck leads, one in Georgia and another in Alabama fell through, but only because there was something better for us to discover!  In fact, we were making arrangements with Lawrence - Douglas County (Kansas) Fire - Medical Department about a month prior to the Kansas City appearance, as we learned that they were in the process of replacing one of their engines with a brand new one!  We even stopped at the fire station where she was still in use on the way to visit those soul-lifting pink fire trucks in Kansas City, since it was so close!  She was a beauty!!!  And even more important, she seats 8 - all enclosed inside!!!  We prayed that she would soon be ours!!!  As it turns out, those prayers were answered...

It is with an immensely humbled and heartfelt gratitude accompanied with an extreme amount of appreciation for Chief Mark Bradford and his Lawrence - Douglas County (
Kansas) Fire - Medical Department for the donation of the 1987 Pierce Lance Pumper Fire Engine to the Wichita Area Chapter of the Guardians of the Ribbon, Inc.  We appreciate his hard work and efforts in persuading the City Commissioners and City Manager to allow for this donation.  We are anxiously awaiting the day that she is painted pink and driven back to Lawrence, Kansas for a Dedication Ceremony with Chief Bradford and the City Commissioners and the City Manager.  I promised Chief Bradford that he would be the first to sign "Nicki", since he lost his mother at the age of 18 to Cancer and his mother-in-law very early on in his marriage, after only 3 years, also to Cancer.

Thank you, Chief Bradford and the City of Lawrence for helping us to carry on the brilliant vision of Dave Graybill through the powerful presence of a pink fire truck!  Can't wait to see you again, soon!