March 25, 2015 - Mayor Mike Wood received a visit from the Pink Heals Gregg County Chapter fire truck which was loaded down with firemen on Monday, March 23, 2015 during the fire department's monthly meeting.
It was slightly different to hear sirens on approach to the fire department instead of the more common sound of them leaving en-route to a fire or other emergency. The sirens instead were announcing the arrival of the Pink Heals fire truck with one of the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department (JVFD) trucks leading the way.
As the trucks arrived, firemen poured from the meeting hall of the department with Mayor Mike Wood, a 40 year fireman with the department in their company. Once the fire trucks came to a halt in front of the department, and the occupants of the building were standing out front, JVFD Fire Chief Perry Pugh announced, "Mayor, this is for you." Pugh regarded Elmer Mathews who was also present and stated it was for him as well. Although he is not battling cancer, he has had recent health struggles.
The Pink Heals firemen each greeted Mayor Wood and embraced him, followed by his daughter Janie Jones. Wood was emotional at the great show of support and stated, "Thank y'all, thanks so much. I'm overcome." Wood was then asked to sign the Pink Heals fire truck, which he did and then posed with friends, family, fellow firemen and the Pink Heals firemen.
Janie Jones, Mike Woods daughter, contacted Steve Denfeld, Gregg County Pink Heals President and his wife Tammy and asked them to pay her father a visit, "A young lady from Carthage had brain cancer and they came to her house because her dad is in the fire department in Carthage, which Randy Leidtke is a member of the Carthage Fire Department, so he volunteers with them and that's kind of how I originally found out about it. I contacted them and they said, 'we'll go wherever, you tell us where you want us to go and we'll go there.'"
Jones shared some about how Pink Heals became what it is today, "It started out as a thing for women, you know because of the pink, and they just kind of expanded from there. They don't take donations, what they get they give to somebody else and if they go to a fundraiser or something all the money that's raised at that fundraiser goes to say Texas Oncology [ for example], they don't keep any of the money or anything."
The four Pink Heals firemen who were present include: Steve Denfeld, Longview Fire Department; Dennis Gage, Retired Kilgore Fire Chief; Tim Crawford, White Oak Volunteer Fire Department; Randy Leidtke, Carthage Fire Department.
Tammy Denfeld, Pink Heals Volunteer, was with the firemen and explained the effect the program can have on someone fighting cancer and how the program works, "We've gone to people's houses that are terminal, when you can make someone that's terminal smile that's awesome"
"We're off tour right now, they'll go back on tour in a couple months. I went from Longview up through Tennessee, Mississippi, part of Louisiana all the way up to Virginia with them. I was gone about two weeks," said Denfeld. "I'll leave out again and go from Shreveport I think [Las] Vegas this time. We just all rotate, we've got over 14,000 volunteers and it's nine months, it's pretty cool. They just go and they give this program away to communities that are willing to do it, so that you could keep your stuff local."
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