Jan 1, 2006 12:00 PM
A thought that awoke Gary Short one night has become a vision for drivers along Interstate 95 in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Short, the founder of Atlantic Bulk Carrier Corp, had been told about a practical joke perpetrated at another trucking company. The company's name had been stenciled on a tractor in hot pink.
Rather than as a joke, Short thought a hot pink logo might serve a better purpose.
Atlantic Bulk Carrier contacted the Richmond VA affiliate of the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in late summer and began working on a program to advance the foundation's cause of advocacy and education. The pink ribbon of the Komen Foundation has become an instantly recognizable symbol of the fight against breast cancer.
The first of four dry bulk trailers with ribbons and the company name on each side — all in bright pink — made its maiden voyage along Interstate 95 in November. Atlantic Bulk's fleet of tractors and dry bulk trailers now carry the customers' products and a message of education and hope.
“Everybody's aware of what breast cancer does and how devastating it can be,” Short told The Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We thought it would be a wonderful idea,” he said of the pink ribbons and logo, “because pink will draw attention.”
Truck drivers pulling the pink-ribboned trailers got immediate reactions. Passengers passing the trailers have waved, smiled, and given thumbs up to the idea. The most appreciative of the message, according to the drivers, are women.
Along with the pink ribbons, the Heil dry bulk trailers sport an educational message about early cancer detection on the rear head. The information also directs viewers to the Atlantic Bulk Carrier web site, which now has a direct link to the web site of the Komen Foundation's Richmond affiliate.
The women running the Komen Foundation called the idea “wonderful” and worked through the national organization to make Short's vision a reality.
“It's absolutely breaking new ground in a unique way,” Judy Adams, executive director of the Richmond Komen affiliate, said of the tankers.
The Komen Foundation advocates early detection as the best curative for breast cancer, which is the same message stenciled on the rear of the trailer. Statistics from the Komen Foundation show a 95% survival rate through early detection.
“What's important is getting the message out about early detection,” Adams told the Times-Dispatch.
Based upon traffic estimates, as many as 200,000 people a day will see the tankers as they travel between Richmond and Clemson SC. Atlantic Bulk has plans to decal other tankers in the fleet, which routinely travel through the Eastern Seaboard.
RPM Graphics, a graphics and decaling firm in Ashland VA, donated time and materials in making the pink ribbons and educational decals for the trailers. Cierra Technologies of Richmond created the link on Atlantic Bulk's web site.
“Just knowing we're doing something to help out is enough for us,” he said.
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