Longview Community Ministries’ ‘Touch a Truck’ Day Sparks Imagination, Joy, and Feeds Needy Families – RedState

George, my friend from high school who I know since the beginning of high school, showed me an image of himself as a boy, standing beside a firetruck. He had his own firefighter’s hat, and the biggest grin on his face. George stated that it was this moment that inspired his desire to be a firefighter. This, plus a 1970s TV series, is what inspired George. Yes, we’re that old.

I’ve loved fire trucks as long as I can remember. As corney as this sounds, what really sparked my desire to be a firefighter/paramedic was the show Emergencies I watched every episode, and still do. They did amazing things that astonished me. That was what I aspired to one day do.

Connecting with cool fire engines and watching the awesome things the people who drove them could accomplish, helped to embed George’s love of helping others. So, it’s no surprise he has chosen careers in emergency response in one form or another.

I’ve worked the whole spectrum, full-time and volunteer firefighter: 30-plus years, and still active. Paramedic for 10 years. Police K-9 Officer, 10 year. Highway Incident Management Supervisor, 18 years. Still active. Yes. It’s part of the emergency service. Some of my tasks overlapped.

That type of imprint can make a huge difference in a child’s life and their vision of themselves. Thanks to a local ministry in Longview, Texas, it’s also the inspiration and impetus to care and feed needy families in the community.

The Longview News Journal

After this past year’s cancelation because of COVID-19 concerns, Longview Community Ministries held its 12th annual Touch a Truck — Feed a Family fundraiser Saturday at the Longview Mall.

Longview Community Ministries service center director Griffin Day explained that this family friendly event takes place every Saturday during October. This gives kids the opportunity to play, explore, and have closeup views of large medical, military, and law enforcement vehicles.

“Youngsters can come and see all the cool trucks they may see on a daily basis but don’t get a chance to interact with,” Day said. “They get to sit in the cab and play with the buttons, honk the horns.”

What a fun and informative family event, and from the pictures on the ministry’s Facebook page, the children had lots of big trucks to choose from. According to the page, they had even scheduled a visit by the CHRISTUS Flight for Life helicopter.

Not only does it encourage wonder and curiosity in a child, but who knows what imprint it might make on that child’s career future? Fire personnel, police officers, race car drivers and other handlers are all available to answer questions and provide assistance to the children.

At more than 12 feet tall, many children had trouble crawling into the cab of a Oshkosh M1070 military tank transporter on display in the mall parking lot, but those who were able to make the climb were treated to a towering view from the driver’s seat and had a blast honking the horn at passersby.

Layla Smith (8 years old) of Gladewater sat behind the handlebars a motorcycle police unit. She even tried its radio, but she decided that the Longview Fire Department firetrucks were her favorite.

Families can also enjoy the event together for a great cause.

Day said the event helps get the word out about the ministry’s services and also raises cash and food donations.

Longview Community Ministries’ Food Box feeds more than 3,100 people more than 21,000 meals monthly, according to the organization.

What if cities and towns sponsored such a day? What impact would this have on building community, teaching children about the people who watch out for them, and helping to defy the fears that surround first responders such as police officers? You will be more open to trusting and accepting people when they are part of your community than you would be if you were outside it.

Longview Community Ministries is commended for this wonderful idea which bring joy to children and draws more attention to people in need. Their fine work has benefited many families in Texas.

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