GALION — A cancer patient, a cancer survivor and a local widow are just three of the Galion residents who were surprised in the best possible way this week.
The Pink Heals Tour came to Galion and once again brightened the day of residents in the Galion and Crestline area.
The non-profit organization, which stopped in Galion for the first time in 2017, is made up of volunteers. Their goal is into provide support and encouragement to those facing various health issues and other difficulties.
And they do it while driving pink fire trucks.
Galion resident and Shelby Firefighter and EMT Steve Hammer was introduced to Pink Heals a couple years by way of his membership in the non-profit Axemen Motorcycle Club. The Axemen, a group of motorcycle riding firefighters, were asked to ride along with Pink Heals when they visited the Tiffin area.
When Pink Heals visited Galion a year ago, Steve decided to get involved directly after speaking with founder Dave Graybill. He spent three weeks traveling across Michigan with Pink Heals after the group left Galion last summer.
“For me, seeing the situations that we run into as firemen and EMTs, I’ve seen people hurting and going through tough times,” Hammer said. “To be able to give back and be a part of something like Pink Heals, I couldn’t say no.”
One of the first stops the group made in Galion was a visit to Scott Evans. Currently battling cancer, Evans is a Galion native and GHS graduate. The visit was a wonderful surprise organized by Neil Evans, Scott’s brother and a member of the Galion Fire Department.
After the visit to Evans, the Pink Heals team went to see another well known local gem, Ann Eagle.
Her husband Lonnie passed away 14 months ago after an eight-year battle with cancer. Todd Eagle, son of Lonnie and Ann, is a captain for the Galion Fire Department and arranged for Pink Heals to visit his mom as a show of support and love.
“I was so surprised,” said Ann. “Todd showed up here at the house and asked me to step outside for a minute. I had never heard of Pink Heals, and it was just wonderful!”
“They brought me a beautiful flower arrangement, too,” she added with asmile. “Lonnie would have loved to see something like this happen. What a wonderful thing to do for those who need it!”
At each Pink Heals visit, each person is given the opportunity to sign the pink firetruck with a sharpie. Ann Eagle did just that with the words ‘Lonnie Eagle, my hero’.
The group rounded out their afternoon by way of a visit to Magnolia Terrace Assisted Living facility. A Pink Heals volunteer visited every resident and greeted them with a carnation provided by Toni’s Flowers.
To complete the visit to Galion, Pink Heals surprised two more Galion locals who they had visited when they were in town last year.
Melanie Wheeler, a GHS freshman who is fighting a rare and slow-moving cancer, was visited during practice at Eagle Dance Center on Wednesday night.
“Mel was very surprised,” said her mother Marci. “We thought it was a really sweet and an amazing act by Todd Eagle to include Mel in their stops!”
The final Galion visit before Pink Heals headed to Crestline was a stop at Galion Primary School where cancer survivor Heidi Perry works as a Teacher’s Aide with special needs students.
It was Perry who reached out to Pink Heals and brought them to Galion last year after surviving her battle with breast cancer. Seeing their volunteers and signing a firetruck again was an emotional moment for Perry who couldn’t hold back her tears.
On Thursday night, the Crestline Fire Department hosted the Pink Heals team for a fire truck pull and dollar hot dogs as a fundraiser for the Crestline Backpack program.