Sometimes I often wonder why things happen the way they do. Is there some sort of reason why the best planned days can turn upside down in an instant? This time around I’m glad they did! I had heard about a Touch A Truck event going on at UCF and when we were on our way, the Mrs. and I started talking about where we were going. We started talking specifics, and it seemed that we were having different conversations. It turned out that there were two similar Touch A Truck events going on in Central Florida on the same day. We decided to checkout the Touch A Truck event in Sanford, as it was a little closer to home.
In what seems to be an annual event, the Touch a Truck Sanford, was more than just a chance to get up and personal with trucks, it featured a theme of Emergency Response. This included some favorites such as Fire Trucks, and Swamp Buggies, but there were some other unique vehicles to checkout as well. I can tell you I worked for AT&T for over 5 years, and never had a chance to see a COLT up close and personal. This was one of the coolest vehicles, as it’s a mobile cell tower, also known as a Cell On Light Truck. It only took a Touch A Truck event for me to actually get into one! My little guys weren’t too impressed, but they enjoyed the air conditioning inside. This event was all about getting behind the wheel, pressing buttons, beeping horns, and actually feeling like you are driving the vehicles. It was the only time I have ever seen so many open invitations to get behind the wheel!
The Touch A Truck name is actually a bit of a misnomer, there were other vehicles such as tractors, 4 Wheelers, and more. The highlight of the morning was watching a helicopter take off from a local field. My oldest little guy is really into airplanes, so it was cool to see it up close. The wind was incredible as the helicopter took off and flew over head. The Sheriff’s department also had a helicopter on site so even after one took off the kiddos were still able to check it out. This was by far the longest line throughout the day. If you can imagine it rolling down the street after a hurricane it was there to check out.
Sticking with the theme of Emergency Response, there were more than just vehicles represented at the Touch A Truck event. Many of the participants were emergency response organizations such as The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and even Seminole County ARES/RACES. It was nice to see that my Amateur Radio brethren were represented as well. The general public had an opportunity to checkout what HAM radio operators can do in an emergency situation when communications are sparse. We had a live demo of the operator actually talking with another HAM in Kentucky. It was pretty cool. One surprising addition was the Northland Church. I didn’t realize they had a disaster response unit, but it makes sense for a church of that size to help out in a disaster scenario.
So who was the star of the Touch A Truck event? The Seminole County Fire Department! I’ll try to make a long story short here, but my wife asked me on the way home if I had seen what the last fire truck in the lineup did for one special little boy. I admit I hadn’t seen this incredible act of kindness first hand but when I was going through pictures, I had unknowingly taken a picture of it. So what was so special?
One of the very young visitors was a little boy who happened to be blind. There was a line for the little ones to get behind the wheel, but what one fire fighter did was amazing. With the help of Mom and Dad, he took the little boy out of line and had a really amazing experience with him. This unknown fireman took the time to provide the little boy a real tactile experience. Kneeling down to his level, he took the hose off the front of the truck, and showed the little guy exactly what it was like to be a fire fighter, letting him hold the hose, open the nozzle, and use his sense of touch to really connect with the equipment. He took his time answering questions, and was patient with the little boy. This wasn’t something they were doing for all the children, so it was a special opportunity. This is what Touch A Truck really was all about. I have no idea who the fireman is pictured but we sure would like to recognize him for going above and beyond the call of duty. If you know of anyone on the Seminole County Fire Department Tower 27 truck, maybe you can help identify him for his accolades. (Sorry for the low quality photo, it’s actually zoomed in from a larger one.)
Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon! Our little guys got a chance to experience something new, saw some incredible acts of kindness, and the weather couldn’t have been better. There was no cost to attend Touch A Truck and we had an opportunity to meet some really friendly people. May of the groups provided free coffee and drinks and even a few power bars. The Sanford River Walk is a beautiful venue, and we’re looking forward to coming back again next year for the Touch A Truck event. Special thanks to Seminole County Emergency Management for putting on a great show!
Touch A Truck Sanford Details:
|Address:||Sanford River Walk|
|Estimated Cost For A Family of 4:||FREE|