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Touch-a-Truck to make return trip to Shaler North Hills Library

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Ohio Township police Chief Norbert 'Beaver' Miklos looks over the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle in the department's parking lot.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Ohio Township Police Chief Norbert 'Beaver' Miklos looks over the MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected light armored vehicle,) in the department's parking lot. The vehicle will be on hand at the Shaler North Hills Library on Aug. 10 as part of the Touch-a-Truck event.
Frank Ferra, of Ferra’s Automotive Services, in Sharpsburg, will return to Shaler North Hills Library’s Touch-a-Truck event with several vehicles, including a flatbed towing truck, pictured.

Children will have the opportunity to climb in the drivers' seats of a variety of vehicles in Shaler North Hills Library's Touch-a-Truck fundraising event.

The library hosted its first Touch-a-Truck event last year and its success encouraged library staff to stage the encore event that will feature more than a dozen vehicles from tow trucks and dump trucks to a 48,000-pound Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle.

“There's something about climbing about and honking the horn and pretending to drive,” said Sharon McRae, Shaler North Hills Library director. “It's such a neat community event.”

In addition to the Shaler Township Public Works Department vehicles on display, many of the Shaler Township first responders will be represented in the event, including vehicles from the Shaler Township Police Department, Shaler Emergency Medical Services, and Elfinwild and Undercliff volunteer fire companies.

“It's a community event, and we like to participate in community events and let the people see the type of equipment we have,” Shaler Police Chief Bryan Kelly said.

Kelly said in addition to the township police department's Ford 1-ton cargo criminal transportation van that will be at the Touch-a-Truck event, the North Hills Special Response Team, which represents more than a dozen Allegheny County police departments, will feature its new Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, which was acquired through a federal surplus program.

The armored vehicle stands 12.5 feet tall and can carry as many as 10 people.

“It's one impressive vehicle,” Kelly said.

The Touch-a-Truck event also will feature food trucks and the company vehicles of local businesses, including Ferra's Automotive Services, in Sharpsburg.

Hampton resident Frank Ferra, of Ferra's Automotive Services, plans to bring three towing vehicles, including last year's popular heavy duty rotator wrecker that uses a crane-like beam to recover large vehicles that need to be towed.

“It was a good turnout especially from the children, they seemed to enjoy it,” Ferra said.

Last year's event attracted about 200 visitors and library officials anticipate a similar crowd for this year's event.

“It's a neat opportunity to connect to law enforcement officials and emergency services and great road crew services,” McRae said of the event. “You get to put a face to these guys. I think that's what's fun. It makes you proud to be a resident of the area.”

“It's a neat opportunity for businesses to participate too and see the kids in our community too.”

Proceeds from the Touch-a-Truck event will benefit children's programming at the library.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or

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