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Big trucks, little kids create happy memories

Big trucks, little kids create happy memories

June 18th, 2017 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Pilot Ted Clemons, left, teaches Colton Lewis about piloting a helicopter during the Fulton Street Fair Touch-a-Truck event on Saturday, June 17, 2017.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /Fulton Sun.

Kids and big trucks go together as well as kittens and social media, as the Touch a Truck event Saturday at the Fulton Street Fair showed.

Fair attendees got to peer at and even climb into everything from dump trucks to a Bobcat to a grader and beyond. But what, exactly, is the appeal?

"I like them because they're so big, and I like their tires," 6-year-old Nathan Wyatt said of tractors. "They can haul big things."

The tractor wasn't his favorite, though.

"One thing I like here is the monster truck, and I'm going in there next," he added.

Judah Wilson shared his opinion on the towering tractor.

"It's so tall," he said after he climbed down.

According to his mother, Jailyn, Judah wants to be a bus driver when he grows up.

"(I'll) take kids to the park," Judah said.

For some, a childhood obsession with transportation turns into a career path.

"(When) I was 8, I took a flight from St. Louis to Tulsa," said Ted Clemons, who landed the University of Missouri Health Care's Staff for Life helicopter in the Hensley Baseball Field. "Ever since then, all I've wanted to do is fly."

Clemons said he sometimes sees that budding passion in the children swarming the helicopter.

"My oldest one does have it; the youngest doesn't," he added. "The oldest just graduated the Naval Academy and is in flight school."

Cpt. Carl Stassel of the Fulton Fire Department was once a little kid who grinned when a fire truck went by. That interest turned into something more.

"(I liked) the excitement of a chance to get dirty and help people," he said.

In 1980, he began volunteering with the Central Callaway Fire Protection District while working at Gerbes. By 1998, he'd been offered a full-time job as a firefighter.

He hoped to inspire that spark in kids.

"I want to give kids a chance to see what a fire truck is like, and maybe motivate them to give back to the community," Stassel said.

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