Balloon festival activity to honor veterans and first responders

| May 17, 2019

COSHOCTON – Safety Saturday at the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival is being reinvented and dedicated to honoring first responders and veterans.

The event, now being called touch a truck will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 8 behind the grandstands at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds.

“We wanted to get kids up close and more involved,” said Donna Carpenter, from Coshocton County Emergency Medical Services, which organizes the event. “We really want to encourage them to interact with the first responders.”

They also are planning to have more of a variety of participants.

“It’s not just about fire trucks and ambulances,” Carpenter said. “The library will be there, so will COSI, and the hospital. We are hoping to have the highway patrol and MedFlight and we are still reaching out to other organizations. There is a lull between the balloons going up in the morning and evening. We want to keep people at the fairgrounds and have something educational for kids.”

Touch a truck is geared toward children up to age 12. The first 50 who participate have the chance to earn a special reward.

“The kids will start at the EMS tent and get a card to take to the different stations,” Carpenter said. “When they get it filled out they can bring it back to us to get a nice reward. The kids also can put their name in a drawing to possibly win a bike helmet from the hospital.”

At the end of touch a truck, a parade will be organized to honor veterans and first responders. Veterans who sign up in advance will meet at the EMS tent and be paired with a member of the Mid Ohio Jeepers Organization. The first responder vehicles will then line up behind the jeeps. Signs will be on the jeeps honoring the veterans and they will be announced as all the vehicles parade around the track in front of the grandstand. Any veteran wishing to ride in one of the jeeps can e-mail Rob McMasters at [email protected] by June 3 and give him your name and branch of service. He and Carpenter are hoping this can turn into an annual event.

“We want to fill the stands with veterans and first responders,” Carpenter said. “We just need to get the word out there. If it’s not their thing to ride in the jeeps, they can come to the stands. We will recognize the veterans and first responders their too.”

Annin Flag donated handheld flags to be given to those in the grandstand. Donations also were received from the Elks Lodge 376 and Three Leaf Solutions.

“We want to have something all day long for people,” Carpenter said. “We also want to be educational and let kids learn about first responders so they aren’t strangers if they have to come to their house. We just thought it was time to change it up a little bit and add to the day.”

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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