The occasional horn from a large vehicle could be heard Saturday as families made their way around the New Providence Baptist Church parking lot.
Touch a Truck was a good opportunity 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for church members to greet members of the community.
“Just kind of an alternative to all the activities for Halloween throughout the community and all that,” the Rev. Mark Caldwell, church pastor, said. “This is something a little bit unique — we don’t have a lot of these — but it gives the kids something different. I just greeted a little bit when he just came in with him and his family a moment ago and he said, ‘Oh my goodness, look at all those trucks.’ That’s really the point of it, let these kids see something. Meet some police officers and show them they’re our friends and ambulance drivers and firemen and all that.”
Present were Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Priority Ambulance, Loudon County Fire and Rescue and Lenoir City Fire Department. Others from the community showcased vehicles, including an old tractor and classic cars.
Caldwell said the church welcomed “anyone who has a large truck.”
Saturday marked the sixth year for the event, the Rev. Gary Smith, associate pastor, said.
“Last year that we had it without rain we had about 400,” Smith said. “I’d say our problem this year I think will be — Lenoir City’s having one this year from 11 (a.m.) to 2 (p.m.) I think is their time today, so that might deter our attendance.”
When children weren’t looking at trucks, they had their pick of inflatables, food and crafts. Church members offered sand art, balloons and an activity that resulted in free Bibles. Children also got candy.
“What we do is, one, it lets them know where we’re at and that church can be fun, it doesn’t have to be boring,” Smith said. “And then we have folks that are circling the parking lot talking to people that see if they go to church anywhere and do they know Jesus and those kind of things. They’re just mingling in the crowd.”
Travis Estes, Priority Ambulance Emergency Medical Services director for Loudon County, spoke with children and welcomed them into the ambulance so they could see the equipment. He hoped younger ones would get better acquainted with paramedics, which could ease any concerns.
“A lot of these kids that we see at these events are concerned about being left alone once they get in an ambulance,” Estes said. “They think they’re going to be left alone and we can go ahead and tell them that once the paramedics get there they’re never going to be left alone, that the paramedic’s going to stay with them the whole entire time until we get them to the hospital (and) then they’ll be with the doctors and nurses.”