Farmers, Truck Drivers and City Workers all got to give some children in Columbia, Missouri a day of thrills and wonder at the Tons Of Trucks community event last week. It was smiles all around for everyone involved.
Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department staged the event at the Rainbow Softball Center. Kids were able to climb into truck cabs, look into all the compartments of fire trucks and ambulances, work sirens on police cars and see how tow trucks work. Most kids agreed – seeing one pass by on the road doesn’t really give you the fascinating insight each truck has in store. These lights come on and then you have to figure out how to turn them all off, Calvin said.
It’s fun watching (children) go nuts over the equipment. This is my favorite event I do all year, Carrillo said. I love working with children, and this event just lights up their faces. And it’s just a really neat opportunity for them to look at vehicles that they normally wouldn’t. You would not think a garbage truck would be so cool, but you actually look at it, and it is.
The Parks and Recreation Department prepared for a week before the event, cleaning its fleet of vehicles and getting them ready to show to kids, mechanic Vince Calvin said.
At Tons of Trucks, children also learn how the vehicles operate when they climb into the driver’s seat.
It’s something we can talk about afterwards, said Mandie Summers, who returned to the event for the third time with her children. What the trucks do and why they’re helpful in our city.
Of the 51 vehicles on display Wednesday, a Columbia Fire Department truck was one of the most popular. Children lined up around the front of the vehicle staring towards the clouds in awe at the ladder extending from the truck.
That’s no surprise to Columbia fire Capt. Billy Hurt, who said the ladder always makes the truck a destination spot for visitors. When children see the truck up close and sit inside, he said, it eases their fears both of the truck and the firefighters.
It gets them familiar with us so they’re not afraid of us, Hurt said. A lot of times, kids are really intimidated. And we don’t want them to be afraid of us at all. We get to interact with them, and that way, they get to see what we do.