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Teams pull trash truck for Special Olympics

By Kelly Faulkenham

Published: Friday, September 18, 2015 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 2:06 p.m.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH – Three live teams and three virtual teams competed Sept. 12 for bragging rights on who could pull a 40,000-pound Waste Pro truck 100 feet the fastest in Home Depot parking lot. The fundraiser, organized by David O’Bryan on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), benefited Volusia County’s Special Olympics athletes.

Team FOP came in second in this year’s pull at 31.3 seconds, but the overall goal of bringing attention to their cause and raising funds was a true success.

“This is our second year and we raised more than we did last year,” O’Bryan announced to those gathered to hear the results of the competition.

Retired from the Memphis, Tennessee, police department after 34 years, he said Special Olympics has been the focus for the FOP nationally since 1995.

“We had successful FedEx plane-pull events in Memphis and I wanted to do something similar here,” he continued. “But the New Smyrna Beach Airport runway is too short for a large plane so we were thrilled when Waste Pro stepped up and provided a truck and driver.”

For the members of the Barnes and McDonnell Pediatric Dentistry of Port Orange, participating in such a worthy cause is something they enjoy and encourage. While they came in third place at 49.4 seconds, you wouldn’t have known it from their smiles and enthusiasm.

“It makes us better,” said Dr. Daniel Barnes. “Society is only as good as you treat your weakest population.”

Sara Harper, director of Special Olympics Florida-Volusia County, noted that the Port Orange dentist group also provides dental care for some of the athletes.

“Some of these athletes fall outside societies safety net,” said Dr. Sean McDonnell. “We feel we get more in return than we ever give.”

Karen Caldwell, a fellow team member, was definite about a return performance at the truck-pull.

“We will absolutely do it again next year,” she exclaimed. “We also want to help the FOP promote it and get even more teams next year. The best part was not only our team working together, but all of the teams working together for a great cause … and the other teams’ members jumping in to help us on our final pull.”

Putting their teamwork to excellent use on behalf of the cause, Christopher Currie says the Home Depot team members came together to have fun in support.

Awarded the first place trophy with a time of 27.4 seconds, he laughed and jokingly said, “We had Waste Pro put it in reverse for the other teams.”