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Big smiles for big trucks: JES gets a Touch-A-Truck visit

Dreams to climb aboard a massive tractor, peek inside a police vehicle or wear actual S.W.A.T. gear came true for many Jemison Elementary students during a Touch-A-Truck demonstration on May 4.

The program was organized by guidance counselors Kara Cleckley and Teresa Knott to add a memorable flare to Career Day.

It worked.

Representatives from law enforcement departments and local businesses stationed their vehicles in the school parking lot from about 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Children rotated by classes, plopping down in front of towering vehicles a they learned about the vehicles’ mechanisms and the careers they accommodated.

Some guests had treats for the students.

“I’m not taking this off until I’m a grownup!” one little boy announced, puffing his chest to show off the police sticker on his shoulder.

“I’m not taking mine off until I’m big,” a little girl chimed in decidedly.

They were kindergartners who had just left the Jemison Police Department station of the program, where they caught an up-close peek at the SUV police cars.

“We got to see the inside of it, too!” another little girl exclaimed.

They chatted and giggled about their experiences while in line for the next experience: Climbing a John Deere tractor.

Another class of kindergartners listened to a presentation by Cpl. Cory McCartney of the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, who stood in front of a S.W.A.T. truck and CCSO vehicle.

He told the seated gawkers about his partner, deputy K9 Traffic, who helps him keep the community safe.

“Now, who is the biggest, strongest one in the class?” McCartney asked.

A chorus of “Me! Me! Me!” responded.

C.J., a kindergartner wearing a dinosaur shirt, was the lucky winner.

“Come over here, we’re going to dress you up like a S.W.A.T. guy, come on,” McCartney said.

The officers gently placed a vest, helmet and shield on the smiling boy.

The vest weighed about 70 pounds.

C.J. said it was heavy.

His classmates giggled as the ensemble was completed.

Students also interacted with representatives and their vehicles from the Alabama Farmers Federation, Thompson Tractor, Shelby Concrete, Chilton County Schools, Central Alabama Electric Cooperation, Jemison Fire Department, Jemison Rescue and Prattville Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, according to the school.

Kona Ice added special flavor with its treats for JES students, and JES faculty and staff enjoyed lunch provided by the Neighborhood Grill on Wheels.

“Thanks to the many volunteers for making this a special day for all the students at Jemison Elementary,” Knott said.

For more information about Touch-A-Truck, visit touchatrucksc.com.