Firefighters in Anchorage are using their life-saving skills to fight more than just fires.
The Anchorage Fire Department named a pink fire engine Miss Linda and dedicated her in honor of all Alaskans who have lost their battle to cancer at a Friday press conference. The idea was conceived by AFD Capt. Jason Dolph as a way to commemorate his mother, Linda, who passed away from the disease.
Almost everyone has been touched by cancer in some way, the department says, and they’ll use the repurposed truck to remind people to get regular check-ups at the doctor.
“I lost my wife after 37 years of marriage to cancer. It was devastating and very emotional even though it occurred over 10 years ago, it’s still very emotional,” said George Vakalis, municipal manager.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Alaska. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3,000 new cases and nearly 1,000 deaths are estimated for 2014.
“When she hits the streets, she’s going to bring with her a message of love and support,” Dolph said. “And through that love and support for all cancer victims of all different cancers, it doesn’t matter what kind of cancer it is, it will inspire people.”
Miss Linda’s transformation was paid for by the Anchorage business community. She will be housed at Fire Station 15 and serve as a reserve engine, making the rounds around Anchorage and Eagle River throughout the year.