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Touch a Truck is hands on

Chad Hoard lifts down his sJacob Hoard 3 Valparaiso after checking out Valparaiso Public Works bulldozer during Touch Truck event

Chad Hoard lifts down his son Jacob Hoard, 3, of Valparaiso, after checking out a Valparaiso Public Works bulldozer during the Touch a Truck event and toy drive at Central Park Plaza in Valparaiso, Ind., Dec. 1, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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◆ The Valparaiso Department of Parks and
Recreation is accepting new, unwrapped items
for Toys for Tots through Dec. 12 at the office, 3210 Campbell St.

◆ For more on events sponsored by the
department, go to www.valpoparks.org.

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Updated: January 7, 2013 7:03AM



Abigail Coates, 9, and her sister Rebecca, 5, knew what they liked about the Valparaiso Department of Parks and Recreation’s second annual Touch A Truck event.

Rebecca preferred the V-Line bus on display, but Abigail had her eye on a different kind of ride.

“I like the tractor because it had such big wheels,” she said.

Sirens and horns in the hands of little kids blared throughout Central Park Plaza during the Dec. 1 event, which, in a partnership with the Duneland Leathernecks, was a toy drive for Toys for Tots.

And that’s why Abigail and Rebecca’s dad Joe Coates said he wanted to come. The Valparaiso resident and member of American Legion Post 94 heard about the event from Marine Corps veterans at the post.

“We came to support Toys for Tots. At least that’s why I came. They came for the trucks,” Coates said of his daughters.

The parks department has collected items for Toys for Tots for several years, said Helene Pierce, the department’s customer service administrator, but decided last year to join with the Leathernecks and bring in the trucks, which this year also included race cars, fire and police vehicles, a Porter County Animal Control truck, and the count’s mobile command unit.

“The park department has always wanted to do a family-involved Touch a Truck, so this was a great opportunity to do it,” said Pierce, who coordinated the event, which also included Santa and one of his elves, Buddy.

Over the last three years, Toys for Tots has collected about 5,000 toys for Porter County children, said Joe Baczynski, a member of the Duneland Leathernecks and assistant coordinator for Toys for Tots in the county.

‘The need is there and sad to say, the need is growing,” he said, adding the Touch A Truck event was a chance for the community to show its generosity by donating toys.



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