Pink fire trucks were seen throughout Tiffin Thursday as the Pink Heals Tour, an organization aimed at helping people battle cancer, made its way into the city.
Tiffin was the tour's only stop in Ohio, and Thursday's turnout was more than pleasing for those involved in bringing the nationally-recognized tour to the city.
"It was a phenomenal turnout," said Rob Chappell, president of Tiffin Firefighters Local 322. "It was really cool to be in the apparatus and go around the corner and see all the people in lot 7. Everyone was out there wearing pink."
PHOTO BY ROB LEDWEDGE
One of the pink fire trucks with the Pink Heals Tour sits in city lot 7 Thursday.
The pink fire trucks and a bus were parked at city lot 7 throughout the afternoon and from the bus, Pink Heals merchandise, along with Tiffin Firefighter's Local 322 pink T-shirts, were sold.
Half of the profits went to Financial Assistance for Cancer Treatment of Seneca County and the other half went to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at The Ohio State University's James Cancer Center.
Chappell, who organized the event, said 500 pink T- shirts sold out quickly. He said Sept. 9 is the earliest that more shirts will be available.
"It's been very successful," said Kim Simmonds, a F.A.C.T. board member who was staffing a tent set up in city lot 7.
At the F.A.C.T. tent, bracelets with different colored beads representing the different cancers were sold.
Dave Graybill, who started Pink Heals in 2007 and who also made his way to Tiffin Thursday with the tour of pink fire trucks, said he initiated the organization out of his love for people.
He said he also loves making a difference in people's lives.
Graybill funds the organization out of his pocket and said it's important to see money given directly to people, not to a corporation.
"So many people make money off of illness," he said.
Graybill, who was a firefighter for 21 years, compared his approach to that of an apple orchard. He said he doesn't want the fruit; he wants to give it to those who need it.
Graybill currently has 86 trucks in three countries, including Canada and England.
He said he has given up his personal life to tour most of the year with a goal of helping people battling cancer.
The organization has a primary focus on women and what they mean to people in day-to-day life. The color pink represents women's health and those battling an illness.
"Women are key in this country," he said. "Women ground all of us. The simple essence of a woman is grounding."
Graybill said in 2017, he hopes to drive 500 trucks to Washington D.C.
"We're bringing love where it's needed the most," he said.
As part of the festivities Thursday, a brief memorial ceremony also was held in the afternoon at the Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial. A cancer charity dinner followed at Camden Falls. There, a silent auction and speakers, including Graybill, were featured.