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Touch a Truck

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
The tactical firetruck that belongs to the Army National Guard isn’t your typical hook-and-ladder ride.
It’s eight-wheel (that’s not a typo) drive, weighs 66,000 pounds and is capable of plowing through 4 feet of water without so much as a sputter.
“It’ll go anywhere,” said Sgt. Shaun Groat of the 430th Engineers Army National Guard, which is based in Salisbury.
“We have yet to get it stuck.”
Admittedly , fuel economy ain’t the best, only three miles to the gallon. But with a 100-gallon tank, it’s still capable of rambling 300 miles before making a stop at the local gas station.
The tactical firetruck was one of numerous big rides on display Saturday at the Ketner Center as part of Touch-a-Truck, an event sponsored by the City of Salisbury’s Parks & Recreation Department.
Most of the vehicles on display came from the city’s public services department. They included a fire department ladder truck, as well as everything from a bus to a garbage truck.
A truck from the Rowan County Rescue Squad was also on the scene.
From the world of private enterprise were rides from Chandler Concrete, Food Lion and NuCare Ambulance Service. MedCenter Air even landed a helicopter on the asphalt parking lot at the Ketner Center for the grand event.
“We’ve got a lot of kids out here who want to climb trucks, blow horns and just see how everything works,” said Niki Castor, department secretary for Salisbury’s public services. “Kids love to touch equipment.”
Donna Drye brought her 4-year-old son, Carson. At the invitation of some of the National Guardsmen, Carson was hoisted into the driver’s seat of the Army National Guard firetruck.
He twisted and turned the steering wheel, and generally did everything you’d expect a 4-year-old sitting in the driver’s seat of a 66,000-pound piece of machinery to do.
Donna sat back and watched as her son had the time of his life. “He’s just tickled to be out playing,” she said.

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