Kudos to Worldwide Equipment Sales and all who made the Tow Trucks for Tots Parade such a success! Here's the announcement from Mick O'Sullivan of Worldwide Equipment Sales:
The Inaugural Tow Trucks for Tots Parade was held on Sunday November 9, 2008. The goals of this event were to collect toys for underprivileged children, improve upon the image of tow truck drivers and to establish a new entry for the Guinness World Records.
The temperature was a chilly 32 degrees with light rain and snow showers. All the trucks assembled at the Empress Casino parking lot in Joliet with some trucks arriving as early as 2:30 AM! One of the more interesting side notes was that a large group of towers met on the Illinois Tollway to convoy to the Empress, a sort of a parade to a parade!
A drivers meeting was held at 8:15 AM and started with the Pledge of Allegiance from Bob Skrocki of the PRTOI and then an invocation from Bob Bowers, a local tower who is the chaplain of a Christian motorcycle club. Then, Mick O'Sullivan from Worldwide Equipment Sales gave final instructions to all drivers . By then it was time to fire up the engines and start them rolling out.
We took 1-80 west to 1-55 north to Harlem Ave south to our final destination, Toyota Park . The total length of the parade route was 42 miles from start to finish , and the parade itself was a mind blowing 8 miles of tow trucks loaded with toys!
As the trucks rolled out of the Empress Casino parking lot, I felt as proud as I could to be a part of this great industry . It was an awesome sight to see the faces of the drivers, some with their children and wives in the cabs as the left on their journey to deliver their toys . It was so neat to see a continuous line of towing equipment some decked out with Christmas decorations as they made their way. We had people stop their cars and wave us on ! We saw a Marine in dress blues who stopped his car and was saluting the drivers as they passed . This was one of those moments that will stay in our hearts and minds forever!
The toys were collected at Toyota Park, and when I said toys I mean toys ! Towers brought bundles of toys, so many toys it filled three dump trucks provided by the Village of Bridgeview Public Works, as well as two moving vans provided by Two Men And A Truck . The toys that were collected are being donated to the ChicagoLand Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade. This group has some 30 years experience of collecting and distributing toys to children and families in need.
The final count of tow trucks was 239. While we did not establish a new record we did meet our two primary goals. And we can all feel good knowing that there will be many happy children this Christmas in the Chicago land area, that I can assure you!
We would like to give special thanks to Mayor Steve Landek of Bridgeview, who really pulled all his resources together to give us a great venue like Toyota Park as our destination ! Thank You, Mayor Landek!
Next year's date has already been set and plans are being made for next year's parade . Worldwide Equipment Sales dealer Principal Pat Winer said " We could not have been happier with all the great towers that participated in this event, we collected more toys then I ever thought we would . I promise that next year's event will be bigger and better than this year's " . He also went on to say " We really appreciated all that volunteered their time, without them we would not have been able to put on this world class event. "
Please visit our web page www.TowTrucksForTots.com for complete pictures andinfo on next year's event.
Click here to read a story on the event from the Southtown Star.