The pink propane truck has raised almost $12,000 to help local women battling cancer

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FARMINGTON – A local propane company is trying to make a difference in the community in a unique way: by painting several of their 3,000-gallon propane delivery trucks in eye grabbing graphics that are intended to help raise money for charity.

Arrowhead Propane, which is located off Highway 64 in Farmington, is run by partners Kent Misemer and Jake Cluff, who say they place community service high on their list of company priorities.

"We try to be part of the community, not just take money out of it," said Misemer. "Service is part of our philosophy — we have more service techs than anyone in San Juan County. So, three years ago we painted one of our (propane delivery) trucks pink, and for every gallon of propane delivered from that truck, we make a donation to the San Juan Medical Foundation to be used to help women with breast cancer."

The business partners said the program is so popular they have customers who specifically request the pink truck when having their propane delivered.

Arrowhead Propane's customers, said Cluff, are primarily homeowners who live in rural areas, but the company, which has 14 employees, also has several commercial clients that use propane for stand-by emergency purposes.

Because the pink truck has been such a big hit, Misemer and Cluff recently decided to paint another of their delivery trucks camouflage green, and will be donating a portion of each gallon sold through that truck to organizations that benefit veterans.

"We wanted to do more because we've been blessed by having our business grow — we've even recently been able to add a plumbing division — and we wanted to give back to the community," said Cluff. "We didn't want to be tied to just one veteran's group and didn't want to just send the money to Washington, D.C., so we'll be donating to groups like the Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, and various VFW posts. Some of the funds will also go to tribal members who are veterans."

Brenda Shepherd, executive director for the San Juan Medical Foundation, said almost $12,000 has been donated to her organization through the pink truck program. She said the money has been used to assist uninsured and under-insured women who are battling cancer.

"(Arrowhead Propane) usually donates the funds on a quarterly basis," she said. "We are really thankful that they had this idea. It's fun to see the propane truck around town, and it keeps the issue (of breast cancer) in people's mind and helps them remember that there is a fund in our community that helps women not only with breast cancer, but also helps those dealing with other types of cancer."

Mike Helms, general manager for Arrowhead Propane, said drivers operating the pink truck notice that it draws a lot of attention, and he hopes the camouflage truck will have the same effect.

"When we stop at a stoplight or we take the truck to an event, people give the thumbs up," he said. "It really gets a lot of good reactions from people."

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.

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