Thousands attend United Way event

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:43

Trucks and planes score big at airport fundraiser MONTGOMERY — Scores of little children climbed aboard fire trucks wearing Junior Firefighter hats giggling as they sat behind the wheel of the big vehicles at the United Ways of Orange and Dutchess Counties’ Touch-A-Truck/Aviation Expo fundraiser at the Orange County Airport in Montgomery. “It’s a great event,” said Jennifer Mauriello of Warwick, whose 3-year-old son was having his picture taken in the cab of a fire truck. She said it was her first time attending the annual event and added “I was excited to find out that proceeds benefitted charity,” said Mauriello. Kids of all ages accompanied by parents and grandparents marveled at 42 vehicles of all types including a huge concrete mixer, a 75-ton crane truck with a reach of 110 feet, an airport runway snow plow and a small roaming trackless railroad train. Jeffrey Sapanaro, owner of Material Processors Inc. of Warwick was participating in Touch-A-Truck for the third year. “It’s fun, I enjoy being here,” said Sapanaro of his participation as he stood next to a 63-foot high tub grinder that turns trees into mulch that helps his firm process about 300,000 yards of mulch each year. Aviation Expo was special feature Attendees also had the opportunity to see the Acrostar, a mini jet used by James Bond to make a quick escape in the movie “Octopussy,” which was among the 25 aircraft displayed during the day-long event that drew thousands of kids and adults. A midday guesstimate was that more than 3,000 attended had attended by that time. The aircraft were part of the Orange County Pilots Association Aviation Expo, a special feature of this year’s event. “We are delighted to team up with United Way to make the Touch-A-Truck/Aviation Expo a tremendous success and to support United Way in its mission to help others,” said Michael Freed, president of the Pilots Association. A variety of activities for family fun at the event included a special appearance by Elmo, a bounce house and skydiving displays during the afternoon. “The Orange County Airport location provides an opportunity to include more children’s games, planes, trains and trucks, which are drawing many more families from both Orange and Dutchess counties,” said event chair Robin Seccafico. “It’s nice to be at a large venue for this event,” said Omer Gil, United Way of Dutchess County event co-chair. “And, the addition of Aviation Expo makes it a great event.” Event sponsors include O’Connor Davies Munns and Dobbins LLP, Dynamic Center Inc., Party Time Productions, Times Community Newspapers and Cumulus Broadcasting. United Way Campaign Sponsors include: 8 Hats High Animation and Production; Cumulus Broadcasting; Frontier Communications; Orange and Rockland Utilities; Walden Savings Bank; Spencer’s Financial; Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni and Weddell; Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp.; Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; and Tarshis, Catania, Liberth, Mahon and Milligram PLLC.