By Jessica Cuevas
After my shift for the Smith-Hutson Scholarship table at Saturday at Sam, I ventured to Huntsville’s downtown square to the Touch-a-Truck event, a community event for “the young at heart” to learn and interact with various commercial drivers and their vehicles, such as a S.W.A.T. truck, police car, fire truck, EMT, commercial trash pick-up, construction trucks and more.
My first stop was the S.W.A.T. truck, the driving factor that brought me out to this event. We had seen the exterior of the truck at our recent tour of the HPD, but I had never seen the interior, where all the gadgets exist.
There was a bit of a line to see the front of the vehicle since that’s where all the children were drawn for the opportunity to press on the two siren buttons. So I saw the inside of the back portion of the vehicle…
…took a seat and took a few photographs from the inside. The inside consisted of two benches for the S.W.A.T. team to sit on when being transported to a scene with just enough space for their equipment and it had two hatches on the roof, that were open for exhibiting purposes.
It was not until I was making line for the front of the vehicle that I discovered Professor Yawn was a few people behind me. I lost my place in line and formed line with him as we talked about what we had both already seen. When it was our turn, I got to sit in the passenger seat and release my inner child as I too pressed on the buttons for the sirens to go off multiple times.
I found that the longer I pressed the button the longer the sirens sounded. They had two different sirens that were extremely loud and obnoxious, especially up close. That fact did not diminish my fascination with them, nor prevent me from pressing the buttons repeatedly.
The buttons, plus the chance to visit again with Corporal Warner, made this a fun part of the visit.
Having had previously seen a firetruck, it was interesting to be able to draw the similarities and differences of a Harris County Firetruck to one of Walker County.
Although I did not see the ladder on the Harris County one, I was amazed to see the 100-foot-tall ladder on the WC firetruck extended on the square where children and adults were posing for photographs.
Next up was the Commercial trash pick-up truck, which at first I did not think would be that interesting, but I was quickly proven wrong when I spoke to Mario. Unlike older trash trucks that needed two individuals to throw the trash in, this one was automatic and picks up the bins with its equipped arm from the local businesses.
Another interesting fact that I found out was that they come equipped with a GPS screen that organizes all their stops into the best and more efficient route for them, and if another stop gets added it will create a new route for them. They even have cameras that will take pictures at each of their stops to track where they have been.
All in all I had a good time and was able to see and interact with community members such as Tammy Gann the city’s Economic Development Director…
…and Corporal Warner from the Huntsville Police Department.
As the event came to an end, I helped the Mainstreet Manager Annel Guadalupe and Molli Thompson-the Mainstreet Intern, clean up, bring down their tent, and carry items up to their office.
If you were unable to make it out this year, I encourage you to participate at the next Touch-a-Truck!