As usual, our own Chief John Winn is always thinking about others and, even in his battle with cancer, he continues to encourage us to be positive and to work to help those in need. One of his missions during all of this is that he wants to use his situation to raise awareness of the hidden dangers of this business of firefighting. He knows that with the proper scanning and testing as a part of a regular firefighter physical, cancers and other life-threatening illnesses can be detected early and treated accordingly. It is his wish that we join him in this campaign to raise this awareness and to improve the future and health of all of our firefighters.
To that end, we surprised him yesterday at his birthday celebration with a Mack fire engine that we will paint and wrap in a Pearl White color to use in this campaign to be sure our firefighters can get the necessary testing to prevent the progression of a life-threatening illness. This fire engine, to be called “Big John”, will travel around our community and our state to encourage our cities, counties, fire districts and other entities to provide the necessary testing to help our firefighters.
When we set out on this journey, we planned to use our Team’s American LaFrance Fire Engine to wrap and paint but knew that we really needed a Mack Fire Truck. Chief John always drove, and was a Captain on Macks, during his CFD career. Thanks to our friends of the Old Fort Fire Department in Ladson, we found just the truck we needed. Most of you in our area are familiar with the “Blue Goose”, a 1968 Mack CF 600, that was recently taken out of service at the OFFD. Upon hearing of this truck, we approached Asst. Chief David Moore at Old Fort and inquired about purchasing the truck. Upon hearing of Chief Winn’s wishes, he got behind our effort and we are excited to tell you that Chief Moore and the Board of Directors at Old Fort have donated this truck to be restored as “Big John”. Chief Moore and Old Fort Board members, Lester Demsey, Larry Hood and John Kilcoyne, were all in attendance yesterday as the “Blue Goose” arrived at Chief Winn’s birthday party.
It is difficult to find words to express our thanks for this contribution for a great cause but we sincerely appreciate the support of our OFFD brothers and sisters, their Board of Directors, and all others who have already pledged their support in this effort. We intend to make them proud as we move forward with this project!