More than 1,200 attend Odyssey Touch A Truck


The June 7 Touch a Truck event at Ashley Park was organized by Odyssey Charter School PTO and featured more than 55 vehicles. 

More than 1,200 people attended the third annual Odyssey Touch A Truck event held recently at Ashley Park.

The June 7 event was organized by Odyssey Charter School PTO and featured more than 55 vehicles including Coweta County and City of Newnan fire trucks and police cars from Newnan, the Coweta Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol. There were also other vehicles and equipment from Newnan city departments, HERO, Georgia Forestry Service, Coweta County Transit, the Post Office and Coweta Animal Control. And that was just in the free section.

During Touch A Truck, kids and their parents were able to explore all kinds of trucks and equipment that normally they would only get to see from afar. They could sit inside, honk the horns, speak to the drivers and dream of what they want to be when they grow up, said Jennifer Petrino, Touch A Truck chairperson for Odyssey PTO.

Touch a Truck is an annual summer event that serves as a fundraiser for Odyssey School but it is still very affordable for families at an admission charge of only $3 per person. Plus, visitors received $1 off if they brought a canned good for the Coweta Community Food Pantry.

Old favorites that returned this year included Peterbilt of Atlanta, McKoon Funeral Home, Newnan Utilities, Vital Care Ambulance, Geek Squad, Fairburn Ready Mix, American Red Cross, Ronny Jones Construction, SouthTowne, Newnan Chrysler, and Two Men and A Truck. Southside Wreckers and Parkers Towing both brought their big rotator trucks, capable of lifting other large vehicles right off the ground, much to the delight of the audience.

First time participants included Carolina Handling, FedEx, Toyota of Newnan, Blossman Gas, Green Earth Options BioFuel, AgPro, Crawford Grading, Whitley Lawn Care, Moreland Mulch, ABATE motorcycles, Cycle City, the Post Office, Coweta County Transit, and the Odyssey School Bus. Caterpillar’s Wheel Skidder was the first piece of equipment to arrive for the event and it was actually delivered Friday afternoon by a wide-load 18 wheeler. It provided a popular picture spot for many families, said Petrino.

There were two restored military trucks, a 1966 Ford Galaxie and a World War II Army Jeep brought by Andrew Lang, who heard about Touch A Truck on Facebook. Facepainting was provided by Bubbles and Brushes Art Studio and Dusty the Clown, and there were booths from Abby’s Angels, FearThis4Life driver training, the Jason Trotter Fun Run, Bahrgains, and Pink Zebra. Visitors could cool off with treats from CJ’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice or enjoy barbecue from J&L Event Services.

Touch A Truck raised more than $2,400 for Odyssey’s PTO and collected 629 canned goods for the Coweta Community Food Pantry, more than twice the food donated last year, said Petrino.

Donors also contributed 43 pints of bloods during the American Red Cross Blood Drive that was included as part of the event.

“Once again we are thrilled with the turnout for Touch A Truck. The weather cooperated, we had more trucks than last year, the crowd was larger and if we gauge the fun by the number of times the horns were honked on all those big trucks, I would say we hit it out of the park,” said Petrino. “We are so thankful to all of the businesses that participated and to the visitors that came and enjoyed our event. We are thrilled that we were able to raise money for our school and support the Food Pantry, the American Red Cross, Abby’s Angels and the Jason Trotter Fun Run all at the same time. That’s what Odyssey is all about – family, community and providing educational experiences for children.”

“The PTO works diligently all year to provide fun family events for the Odyssey students and their families, such as their award-winning International Night and a school-wide Thanksgiving Feast like none you have ever seen,” said Petrino. The PTO also pays for school equipment and materials, funds in-house field trips and gives grants to teachers for items for their classrooms. The money raised during Touch A Truck will go towards those endeavors.

After this year’s Touch a Truck success the PTO is already looking to next January when they start planning Touch A Truck 2015.

According to Petrino, “We are always looking for interesting trucks that we can invite to participate. I have been known to throw my phone to my daughter in the back seat and have her take a picture of a truck we see on the road so I can remember to call them. We’d like to have an armored truck, a Mack Tool truck, a satellite truck from one of the TV stations and maybe some food trucks next year.”

Odyssey is a free public charter school in Coweta County with more than 400 students in grades K-8.

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