JACKSON TWP. Between 200 to 300 children - and adults - showed up Saturday to Buehler’s Fresh Foods in Jackson Township for the 10th annual Touch-a-Truck event in the Nobles Pond plaza parking lot.
The back end of the parking lot this year was parked full of 20 different types of vehicles that kids and adults could climb on and take a seat in the driver’s controls. There were giant earth moving vehicles from Gradall, CAT and Volvo. Jackson Township had several of its emergency vehicles parked. There was also a semi-truck with attached trailer.
"We have several new groups this year including a SWAT team, MAPS is here and the dog warden is setup this year," said Bonnie Wheeler-McElroy, community relations specialist with Buehler’s. "The event is meant to fulfill the curiosity of kids and adults who pass by these vehicles every day and wonder what it would be like to sit in one."
One of the new setups this year was the Pet Disaster Relief trailer. The trailer was donated by the American Kennel Club to the Stark County Dog Warden to assist rescuing pets from emergency situations such as floods, tornados or hording.
"We got the trailer several months ago, it’s about $20,000 for the trailer and the supplies inside," said Dog Warden Jon Barber. "Stark County’s Director of Emergency Management, Tim Wartsler, heard about the trailers and he contacted the American Kennel Club and then they reached out to me. It’s only the second trailer in the state of Ohio."
Barber said they can help situations in surrounding counties when needed.
Wheeler-McElroy said she is looks for new vehicles every year to add to the mix. Next year, she would like to have a hearse and would like to get the Pro Football Hall of Fame involved.
"Letting the kids look at the hearse would allow them to learn about that particular cycle of life," Wheeler-McElroy said. "And, just like getting familiar with the emergency vehicles, it can make them feel less afraid. We just want to provide family oriented events in the area because Buehler’s is all about the family."