2009-12-05 / Front Page

Fueling the Cure

Local propane companies donate to Stefanie Spielman Fund
by Scott Rawdon

United Landmark propane company driver Joe Hupp stands by his “Fueling the Cure” truck at a farm near Fairfield Beach. Hupp delivers to Licking, Fairfield, and Perry counties, among others. United Landmark propane company driver Joe Hupp stands by his “Fueling the Cure” truck at a farm near Fairfield Beach. Hupp delivers to Licking, Fairfield, and Perry counties, among others. LAKE AREA – Joe Hupp feels like a celebrity driving his pink propane truck. “You’ll have people waving at you everywhere you go,” he said. “This truck turns heads.” Hupp delivers propane around the Buckeye Lake Area and Central Ohio for the United Landmark company and is proud his company participates in the “Fueling the Cure” program, which three Ohio energy companies sponsor. These companies— United Landmark, Southwest Landmark, and Heritage Cooperative—are donating $1 per propane delivery through October 2010 to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. The goal is to raise $30,000 collectively for the fund and raise awareness for breast cancer research and the OSU James Cancer Hospital, a partner in the program.

Tragically, Spielman, who was married to OSU and NFL football player Chris Spielman, lost her fifth bout with cancer Nov. 19. She was 42. Spielman was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998.

United Landmark Lancaster Branch Propane Manager Thad Dixon said he’d read a story in a trade magazine a couple years ago about pink truck and decided to build on the idea. Company superiors were approached about creating several pink “billboard” trucks to promote breast cancer awareness. “They were real excited about it,” said Dixon. So were people at the Stefanie Spielman Fund.

The three energy cooperatives planned the program for months and committed $60,000 to it. Dixon said the four pink billboard trucks are receiving plenty of attention around the Buckeye Lake Area and elsewhere, and were recently displayed at the Circleville Pumpkin Festival.

Dixon said the trucks generate emotional responses both inside and outside of the company. “We’ve had people come out and hug the truck,” he said, and United Landmark employee’s wife recently underwent a double mastectomy.

Pleasantville resident and United Landmark propane customer Dan Stimmel said he lost his first wife to breast cancer and appreciates the Fueling the Cure program. “I definitely support the cause,” he said.

The program began in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so Dixon said the companies have long way to go to meet the $30,000 goal, but they still have nearly a year to do it. The program will be ongoing. “We’ll do an annual renewal to bring in other cooperatives,” he said. “I wish we would’ve done this last year.”

Dixon said people often ask him what his male drivers think about operating a bright pink truck. “The guys argue over who gets to drive it,” he said.

Photos by Scott Rawdon

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