Columbia Cross Roads family raises breast cancer awareness in unique way
TROY - When most people want to raise awareness about breast cancer, they wear a splash of pink - a pink ribbon, pink jewelry, or a pink shirt.
And then there's the case of a Columbia Cross Roads family.
Recently, they bought a new "skid steer," and had it painted pink for breast cancer awareness. The skid steer, or skid loader, is a piece of heavy equipment they use around the farm for a variety of tasks.
It all began with a conversation between a grandmother and her 3-year-old granddaughter.
Karen Watson talked to her granddaughter, Haidyn Watson, about driving a skid steer someday when she was old enough.
"She said, 'oh, my skid steer has to be pink,'" Karen Watson recalled. She said pink is the little girl's favorite color.
However, the Watsons decided to take things one step further by using the pink not only to fulfill their granddaughter's wish, but also to raise awareness about breast cancer. Pink is the color for breast cancer awareness.
They ordered the skid steer from the Gehl company, which painted it pink at their request.
The Watsons plan to have the pink skid steer on display at the Relay for Life in Troy and also at the Troy Fair this year. The skid steer will also be decorated with the breast cancer awareness ribbons.
Karen Watson said that her husband, Gavin, was impressed with how the NFL has supported breast cancer awareness, and "thought about what agriculture could do to get behind the cause."
She said that a lot of farm mothers and wives deal with breast cancer, on top of the workload of the farm.
"It's pretty much for us to show the same type of support in our industry," she said. Karen Watson noted that they also know many people who have been affected with cancer.
The skid steer was purchased through Columbia Cross Roads Equipment, Inc.
Molly Garrison-Best, who works at Columbia Cross Roads Equipment, pointed out the uniqueness of the skid steer.
"This is the first pink skid steer Gehl company has put out," she said. "It's gotten a lot of attention on Columbia Cross Roads Equipment's Facebook page. I just had a customer in here asking about the skid steer. He said that's all he's heard about today."
The company's Facebook page shows several photos of the pink skid steer, with the post garnering 43 "Likes" and several positive comments.
"That is sooo awesome," wrote Bonnie Gray.
"Love it!" posted Angela Cook.
A South Dakota television news station also did a report on the Watsons' pink skid steer.
Haidyn Watson is the daughter of Travis and Jessica Watson of Columbia Cross Roads.
Karen Watson said the whole family looked at the skid steer over the Easter weekend.
"They were kind of amazed we were actually able to get it."
She said Haidyn Watson was bashful when she first saw the skid steer, but then warmed up to it.
"She climbed right up in it. She was real impressed."
Karen Watson said her granddaughter was just "tickled pink" - no pun intended.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org