Go Truck Go drives large crowd

By Maggie Gebhardt
Hays Daily News – May 29, 2015

Twin brothers Carson & Colt Crough, 2, Great Bend, pretend to spray a hose connected to a Hays fire truck. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Twin brothers Carson & Colt Crough, 2, Great Bend, pretend to spray a hose connected to a Hays fire truck. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Ellis County Rural Fire Department firefighter Kody Niblock helps Camryn McConnell, 5, Russell, try on a respirator.

Ellis County Rural Fire Department firefighter Kody Niblock helps Camryn McConnell, 5, Russell, try on a respirator.

With gleaming smiles on their faces, children excitedly bolted from cars with blaring sirens to trucks with cranes attached while participating in Early Childhood Connections’ 15th annual Go Truck Go on Thursday.

The Hays High School parking lot was filled with a variety of business and personal-use vehicles, including Hays Fire Department fire trucks, UPS trucks, Midwest Energy trucks, tractors, ambulances, motorcycles and more.

“It’s a very well-established event,” said ECC parent educator Beth Hansen. “People in the community really look forward to it.”

Children were able to interact with professionals and learn about vehicles they see driving down the street every day.

“Kids get excited about this the second they hear the news it’s happening,” Hansen said. “It’s such a cool opportunity for them.”

Volunteers from the participating organizations and businesses helped children honk horns, turn on sirens, flash lights and sit in drivers’ seats — allowing for a hands-on learning approach that inspired participants to understand the job from a professional’s point-of-view.

“It’s good for the kids to get out and see how all of this works,” said parent Jennifer Massey, Hays.

“I just like all of them,” said her son, 5-year-old Aaron Massey, when trying to decide which truck was his favorite.

Representing Midwest Energy, Shawn Slaubaugh and Lance Kohl said they think the event benefits youth in the community.

“It helps the kids understand our services and what we do,” Slaubaugh said. “They can learn about a variety of jobs.”

Inside the high school, ECC provided visitors with goodie bags, a free meal and a variety of informational booths representing local organizations whose services pertain to youth or families.

“I think it’s fantastic that they do this,” said parent Kasey Shepard, Hays, alongside her son, 4-year-old Coy Robben.

“It’s a good feeling to have families show such an interest,” Hansen said. “It means a lot for us as a team.”

Mostly, the parent educator said her organization simply wants to be sure to bring the event back year-after-year, making it bigger and better for the children each time.

“It’s just really rewarding to see the smiles on the kids’ faces,” she said.



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