09/15/13 — Pulling for the Special Olympics

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Pulling for the Special Olympics

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on September 15, 2013 1:50 AM

"3, 2, 1, pull!"

Eight men lean back with rope in hands, straining to pull 40,000 pounds of fire engine a distance of 25 feet.

It takes the eight-man team from the Goldsboro Police Department more than nine seconds.

Their strategy? What strategy?

"I don't know if there is a strategy to pull a few tons around," Patrol Officer Jason Booker said. "I'll trust in my stubbornness and refusal to quit."

As part of an effort to raise money for the North Carolina Special Olympics, four groups got the opportunity to try their hands at pulling a fire truck Saturday during the Fall for the Arts Festival in downtown Goldsboro.

"We just wanted to help raise money for the Special Olympics," said Sgt. Dale Foster, who helped organize the event.

Foster said that Raleigh does a plane pull each year. The idea was considered, but the police department decided instead to recruit the fire department and use one of its 20-ton fire trucks.

Trophies went to first, second and third place, and first place also won a free round of golf at Lane Tree Golf Club.

But the real winners are the children who compete in the Special Olympics.

Raising money from community donations, the event's entry fees and vendor fees from the Fall for the Arts Festival held close by, the fire truck pull event was able to pull in roughly $1,300 to be donated to the Special Olympics.

This was the fifth fundraiser this year held by the police department to raise money for the Special Olympics. The other events were the Law Enforcement Torch Run held in May, Cop on Top, Tip a Cop and the Flame of Hope Golf Tournament.

During the fire truck pull, the Goldsboro Police Department tried two separate trials to better its original 9.3 second time. The department's second pull shaved its time down to 8.4 seconds.

"We just pulled harder. Once you get warmed up, it's always easier," Parker Corprew said.

But Booker, Corprew and the rest of the Goldsboro Police Department team weren't there just to win.

"We try to do a few things each year, and we figured it would be a good event," Booker said.

"It's a worthwhile event -- giving to the Special Olympics, helping out the kids," Corprew said.

And that's probably a good thing considering the CrossFit Goldsboro team and their time of 6.3 seconds trumped the GPD's best time.

"It doesn't look like a long way, but it's still a fire truck," Booker said.

The CrossFit Goldsboro team's second time, however, took more than 10 seconds.

"Did he have his foot on the brake?" one member asked while pulling.

Running concurrent to the fire truck pull was the Fall for the Arts Festival organized by the Arts Council of Wayne County. The first-time event gave 57 local vendors and craftsmen a place to sell their wares, from birdhouses to hula hoops.

The event also featured live entertainment, bounce houses for children and a beer garden hosted by Hinnant Vineyards and Foothills Brewery.

Sarah Merritt, the executive director of the Arts Council of Wayne County, said the original idea for the festival came from Sgt. Foster and Officer Thomas Bailey, the two officers who wanted to hold the fire truck pull. Basically, the two officers needed a crowd for their event, and the idea evolved into the festival.

"We just want to be an annual event," Mrs. Merritt said. "We got good feedback and some really awesome vendors."