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  • Last modified 31 days ago (Sept. 20, 2018)

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Big trucks make big impact in Hillsboro

Staff writer

Lights of emergency vehicles flashed as more than 100 people bustled about on Hillsboro Elementary School grounds.

It wasn’t the scene of a major accident, it was the annual Big Trucks event hosted by Marion County Parents as Teachers (PAT).

“It’s a good hands-on experience for the kids,” PAT coordinator Susie Kliewer said. “We get to expose them to equipment they wouldn’t normally get to see or interact with.”

In the 14 years of Big Trucks, PAT has seen great support from the likes of the fire department and farmers. Most of the trucks have been coming for several years and the volunteers are expanding, she said.

There were also several booths in the school cafeteria, supplying popcorn and firefighter helmets.

The event is a success every year and 300 people visited in 2017.

“It’s always a big turnout,” Hillsboro officer Randy Brazil said. “There are games they can play and it’s just a good community resource to have.”

For Brazil and officer David Funk, it’s about interacting with kids in a different capacity from normal.

“We get to show the kids we’re not big scary guys,” Funk said.

Getting a different reaction from kids outside work was something bus driver Charlene Pschigoda experienced first-hand.

“I also work in special education at the elementary school so they get to see me in a different setting,” she said. “Some say, ‘You don’t drive a bus.’”

After 30 years as a bus driver, Pschigoda made her first appearance at Big Trucks in 2017.

“I’m getting older, but it’s OK,” she said. “This is something I can do.”

Carissa Huebert has been attending the event with her sons for four years.

“We have three boys so they all love big trucks,” she said. “That’s a perk, for sure, being able to go inside and play in all the trucks.”

Her sons were especially fond of the farm equipment, and were already talking about them during the car ride to the school.

“The combine was one they mentioned they wanted to go to before we even got here,” she said. “I would say the police car is mine because my husband is an officer.

“It’s good to get people out and all together,” she said. “It’s a great way to kick off the school year.”

Last modified Sept. 20, 2018

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