Tow trucks collect toys for the holidays
By Mari Grigaliunas Correspondent November 10, 2011 10:32PM
Updated: January 23, 2012 4:37AM
This Sunday, tow trucks from around the area will be lining up in the Tow Trucks for Tots Parade that raises toys for kids in a display that runs from Joliet to Bridgeview.
The tow trucks will leave Joliet’s Hollywood Casino at 9 a.m. and head to Bridgeview’s Toyota Park. Pat Winer owner of Worldwide Equipment Sales in Rockdale, organized the first parade four years ago.
“They’ve always had tow truck parades,” Winer said. “And tow truck parades have always been at the funerals of owners of towing companies.”
Winer wanted to put a happier twist on this industry tradition, and he did so with three goals in mind. First, he wanted to collect much-needed toys for deserving children. Towing companies collect toys before the parade. Some ask their clients for donations, and others hold fundraisers, buying toys with the money they collect.
Ken Huff, a 23-year employee of Coy’s Towing in Matteson, and his wife Joyce initiated a bicycle drive. They hoped to collect 50 bikes.
“That was three weeks ago,” Huff said Saturday. “Right now, we are at 80 bicycles.”
Winer also wanted to boost tow truck drivers’ public image to “show them in a positive light.” And he wanted to set a another Guinness world record.
The parade set the record on its first try in 2008 and broke it in 2009 with 309 tow trucks. Winer feels positive about setting another record this year.
“We’re hoping for four to five hundred (trucks),” Winer said.
This year Tow Trucks for Tots will hold its first Tow Truck Olympics following the parade. Contestants will compete in an agility course performing various towing-related tasks, from unlocking doors to attaching tag lights to a rear bumper. Visit towtrucksfortots.com for information.