PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (May 2, 2023) – For Barrett Robinson, 4, cement mixer trucks are not only big, but a big deal. Ever since he received a toy cement mixer truck from his grandparents, it has been his favorite toy.
Now, after attending the Presidio of Monterey’s second annual Touch-A-Truck event at Ord Military Community for two years in a row, cement mixer trucks are Barrett’s favorite truck as well. Barrett and his mother, Abigail Robinson, were among hundreds who attended this year’s free event April 29, and Barrett was excited to explore a cement mixer truck in person again.
“Last year we could climb on the cement mixer, and he wanted to go again,” Abigail Robinson said. “It’s a really well-done event. We’ve really enjoyed it. We drive past all these trucks, and he loses his mind every time we see all of the trucks. I’m like, ‘This is your chance to touch them.’”
PoM Child and Youth Services organized the event in honor of the Month of the Military Child, and it featured a variety of trucks (and other vehicles) for children to see, touch and explore. They included a PoM fire truck, a dump truck, military vehicles, Seaside Police Department vehicles, Monterey Peninsula School District busses and many more. The drivers also talked to children about their trucks, telling them information such as what it does, how it was built and how it works.
“This is a time of gathering, a community event,” said LaToya Maben, event organizer and Child and Youth Services outreach director. “Everyone can come together and have fun and bring the kids, mingle, just have a good time. We’re trying to bring the community together and show our appreciation for the military families and what they do on a day-to-day basis.”
Col. Sam Kline, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, attended with his wife, Heather Kline, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Traylor, USAG PoM senior enlisted advisor. He spoke at the event’s kickoff about the importance of the Month of the Military Child and military children.
“The sacrifice that you give, it does not go unnoticed,” Kline told the children. “It is a critical part of our national security, and you have a role. From the deepest depths of my heart, not only from my wife and myself and the command sergeant major, but on behalf of the Army: Thank you for your sacrifice.”
In addition to the trucks, the event featured informational booths from organizations such as Army Community Service, the PoM Dental Clinic, the Ord Community Commissary and the California National Guard Drug Demand Reduction Outreach. Children could also have their face painted, play with toys, navigate an obstacle course on mini-bikes and more.
Kline also thanked the volunteers who helped with the event. Hugo Ambriz Tena, PoM Better Opportunities for Single Service Members advisor, said 10 BOSS volunteers assisted with the event, and they were glad to give back to the military community. BOSS has three pillars—quality of life, life skills and community service—and their volunteer work at Touch-A-Truck was an example of the community service pillar in action.
Rhonda Gibson, a PoM CYS program operation specialist and organizer of last year’s first-ever Touch-A-Truck event, said more than 400 military and 100 civilian families with children as young as 8 weeks old attended, and CYS personnel were happy to honor them.
“Military children are, indeed, a key part of the Armed Forces community as they serve too!” Gibson said.