This Saturday, a familiar East Texas event will have a sensational unveiling that goes along with it.  Every year, the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department hosts a huge BBQ fundraiser.  That is coming up this Saturday, May 1, beginning at 11 am at the firehouse located at 364 North B Avenue in Garrison.  Cost of a BBQ plate is $12, and they'll keep serving until they run out of food.  This is a major fundraiser for the Garrison VFD, so your support will be greatly appreciated.

But, this year's event will include something very special.

Contributed Photo/Garrison VFD

The truck in the photo is of Garrison Engine 42, but, at 1 pm this Saturday, the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department will be unveiling the latest fire truck to their fleet, but this one will be far from ordinary.

According to Garrison VFD firefighter Robert Gibson, the truck to be unveiled will be referred to as B-44. There is a very interesting story that goes along with that truck. About a year ago, officials with Garrison VFD  were notified by the Texas A&M Forestry service that they would be receiving a vehicle to add to their fire fighting fleet.  The department had a vision of a fully functional fire truck, response vehicle, and high water rescue truck, however, some of the members had the idea of using it for a more universal purpose. Namely, utilizing the truck to benefit a dual purpose not only to serve the community, but to raise awareness in a number of different areas. It was voted on in a business meeting and it took off from there.

The truck was donated through the FFP program from the Texas A&M Forestry Service and the tank and pump was a grant donation from Texas A&M Forestry service through House Bill 2604. After the fire department received the truck, the members went to work stripping the truck from its setup as a military vehicle and started the transition into a functional fire truck. The vision the members had was to raise breast cancer awareness, awareness for the wounded warriors, suicide prevention and PTSD awareness. That has been the whole theme through the entire building of this truck.

The building process and retrofitting has been going on now for nearly a year.  A number of local businesses have helped the Garrison VFD with discount paint and parts. There have been numerous late nights spent by members of the fire department to help mold this truck into what it is today. The fire department contacted the American Cancer Society and told them what they were thinking and they loved it. It was decided that from all of the proceeds brought in by this truck, 20% would be donated to the American Cancer Society. There will also be ribbons for all 28 cancer types as well as signs on the truck for people to sign if they are a cancer survivor or have lost a family member to cancer.

The public is invited this Saturday to not only enjoy some delicious BBQ, but to be a part of this historic unveiling of B-44 with the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department.

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