Pink fire truck brings healing message to Fun Daze event
By Bert Lehman
Visitors to the Embarrass Fun Daze had the opportunity to view a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter up close and talk to the crew who flew it to the July 29 event.
The Black Hawk landed in an open field behind the Embarrass Fire Department, which organized the event.
Once it landed and was secured, attendees were allowed to view the helicopter up close and climb inside.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Scott Kramer told the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette that the four-member crew manning the Black Hawk came from a couple of different units that are part of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
He said Black Hawk helicopters were first introduced in the early 1970s, and the one that was in Embarrass was a 1989 model.
“They’re still making brand new helicopters for Black Hawks, but they’ve been around for over 50 years,” Kramer said.
The Black Hawk that was in Embarrass, is and has been, used in duty, Kramer said.
“This aircraft will go overseas, wartime environments, stay here in the United States for domestic operations in states of emergency, as well as continuation of training for our folks, and community involvement as well,” Kramer said.
Regarding community involvement, like the Fun Daze in Embarrass, Kramer said they usually do a couple a month.
“What I really like about the community type stuff is all of our crew members, mechanics, flight crew members, our maintenance people, we’re all from the local community,” he said. “I live in West Bend. The other folks live in the Fox Cities area and Milwaukee. So, we’re part of these communities as well. Being able to come and bring some really, cool pieces of equipment out to local communities is really fun. It’s rewarding for us.”
He added that it is fun seeing the big smiles on the faces of children when they view and sit in the helicopter.
Pete Karlson, assistant chief for the Embarrass Volunteer Fire Department, said they wanted to bring the Black Hawk to this year’s Fun Daze to provide a public attraction to attendees and to educate the public. He said it was also meant to support the military and give the military some publicity.
A Medevac Air Ambulance also landed at Fun Daze later in the day. Karlson said the medevac was brought in for the same reasons as the Black Hawk.
Karlson credited firefighter Dakota Maynard for submitting much of the paperwork required to have the Black Hawk attend Fun Daze.
“He (Maynard) said it was about five months-worth of paperwork to get all the approvals,” Karlson said. “It was quite a lengthy process, but it makes it worth it to have another special thing for the event and the community.”
The reaction of attendees was cool to see, Karlson said.
“They seem to enjoy it, and it’s not something you get to see every day,” Karlson said.
Karlson added that they would like to do something similar at future events.
“We’re here to kind of get the community together and let everybody have a good time, and also to raise funds for the continued education of our firefighters and the support of our equipment, and help the department with its projects,” Karlson said.
Pink fire truck
Those who attended the Fun Daze parade saw a pink fire truck in the parade. The truck was covered with signatures from those impacted by cancer.
The pink fire truck is owned by the Sheboygan County Chapter of Pink Heals. The Sheboygan chapter started in 2014, but Pink Heals is a national organization.
“It started through trying to raise money for cancer and help,” said Tara Albright, president of the Sheboygan County Chapter of Pink Heals. “Over the years we’ve broadened our horizons and realized there’s much more help needed. So, if it’s a debilitating disease that affects the family structure, we will also help that way.”
The fire truck was donated to the Sheboygan County Chapter by the Highwood Fire Department in Illinois. Albright said the truck had failed the pump test and couldn’t be used anymore by the fire department, so it was donated to the Sheboygan County Chapter.
“We just paid for the paint job and every truck that rolls, is named after somebody,” Albright said. “We were fortunate enough to name ours after two people. We have Dawn. She was a volunteer with us. She ended up passing away from small cell lung cancer. And Ty, whose wife was also a volunteer.”
The signatures, signed with a Sharpie marker, on the pink fire truck are for anybody who has battled cancer – a family member, a friend, anybody who has been touched by cancer can sign the truck.
“Over time they (signatures) fade,” Albright said. “We like to say it’s fading into the soul of the truck and giving room to the next batch.”