FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital has unveiled a recently painted vehicle in its NorthStar fleet — an ambulance painted in a shiny purple-and-white color scheme. It is detailed with multiple shades of purple with symbolic oversized ribbons to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence.

“It’s yet another representation of our organization’s ongoing commitment to domestic violence awareness, community education, and support services,” said Gerald Cayer, Franklin Community Health Network executive vice president. “Police have reported that having local resources available and supporting awareness increases reports of domestic violence. This is an important step in breaking the chain of violence.”

Also featured prominently on the ambulance is the message, “There are no excuses, period!” along with the area’s domestic violence helpline number and a link to view a six-minute video developed by staff at Franklin Memorial Hospital called “Break the Chain” Purple Glove Dance.

“Internet search results reveal that this vehicle may be the first domestic violence awareness ambulance in the country, although I did find domestic-violence-awareness-themed police cars and fire trucks,” said Jill Gray, FCHN community relations manager.

Cayer along with Mike Senecal, NorthStar director, and Lee Ireland, NorthStar regional operations manager, participated in a brainstorming discussion for the ambulance paint job that was sparked after seeing Sugarloaf’s pink snow cat in December and earlier Webber Energy Fuels’ pink propane delivery truck, both of which bring awareness to breast cancer.

The domestic violence awareness ambulance will dispatch out of all five NorthStar base locations: Farmington, Carrabassett Valley, Livermore, Phillips and Rangeley.

It is expected to travel about 30,000 miles in the next year. This will include distances as far north as Fort Kent and as far south as Boston. The ambulance will also make special appearances at community parades, festivals and fairs.

“I would also like to acknowledge and express thanks to the members of the Franklin County Domestic Violence Task Force for their commitment in keeping the issue of domestic violence front and center locally,” added Cayer.

NorthStar responds to more than 5,000 calls each year in 71 communities over the 2,800 square-mile area it serves.

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