Big Truck Night


The fire truck was a popular stop during Big Truck Night as children flocked to see the fire equipment, receive a junior firefighter sticker and meet Hillsboro?s fire chief, Ben Steketee, and others in the department. It was estimated that between 220 and 275 children and parents attended.

Now in its sixth year, Big Truck Night captivated the curiosity of area children who climbed in, over and through vehicles parked at the Hillsboro Police Department lot Thursday night.

?We were very pleased with the attendance,? said Lori Soo Hoo, director of Marion County Parents as Teachers.

?Each year, we hope we can grow in numbers, trucks and community resources.?

Big Truck Night, Soo Hoo said, started because of child?ren?s fascination with big trucks.

?Children see them on the road and they are intrigued,? she said.

In addition to satisfying the inquisitiveness of children, Soo Hoo said there are other goals for the yearly event.

?We want to provide a family event that allows everyone to learn about, explore and experience the wonder of big trucks,? she said.

?Within this learning opportunity, we also strive to offer families information on how to access community resources, health and safety information.?

As in previous years, Ident-A-Kid, with a mission of raising the level of awareness of child safety and providing parents with proactive measures to keep their children safe, had record-setting numbers of children at the event with 50 kits processed.

The PAT program has four core components that include personal visits, group meetings, screenings and resource networking.

?Our mission is to provide information, support and encouragement that Marion County parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial years of life,? Soo Hoo said.

There is a waiting list for personal visits, but that doesn?t mean families can?t participate in other activities, she said.

While Big Truck Night is one of the group meetings, PAT also has field trips, plus classes for parents involving sleep concerns, nutrition, discipline and more.

Future group events include Octoberfest in Lincolnville, Saturday, Oct. 3; a health workshop, Thursday, Nov. 5 (using interactive IDL Network); PJ Reading Night in January (partnership with public libraries); Daddy Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 13 in Marion; School Readiness Workshop, Thursday, April 15 (IDL Network); Sedgwick County Zoo trip, Saturday, May 8, and Goessel Threshing Days in August.

Soo Hoo also thanked the participating organizations, including USD 410-Hillsboro with a school bus and free popcorn, Lang Diesel, Bernhardt Trucking, Hillsboro fire, police and ambulance departments, Rod?s Tire & Service, Hillsboro Electric Department, Child Start Inc., Children?s Mercy, Marion County Head Start, U.S. Postal Service, Marion County Health Department, Communities in Schools and Safe Kids of Marion County.

?We are a free program funded primarily by the Kansas State Department of Education, the five Marion County school districts, Early Childhood Block Grant funds and the Kansas Health Foundation,? she said.

All families with children prenatal to 3 years old are eligible for PAT in Marion County.

For more information about PAT or how to get on the waiting list, call Soo Hoo at 620-947-4041 or e-mail

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