LaPlata, MD — For a brief couple of minutes, on the noisy Saturday, June 25, morning, the sound of children beeping horns and sirens stopped and the sound of a roaring jet engine took over.
The jet noise came, not from above, but rather from knee high off the ground as Bob Swartz drove his jet luge board across the parking lot, leaning and dodging to the side like a skillful bobsled racer. The hundreds of participants gathered at the Eighth Annual Touch-a-Truck stopped and watched the brief sight that interjected into an otherwise distracting atmosphere.
“I come to every Touch-a-truck because I’m a firm supporter in our Center for Children,” Swartz said of the event, sponsored by the center. “Originally I got involved with them because I’m a mentor.” Swartz has made a career out of luge events, competing regularly and having consulted on several films and television shows. Swartz is a force of innovation in his field and a positive influence in the community.
Catherine Meyers, executive director of the Center for Children, said “This would be a great fundraiser but also a great community event and it’s focused on our kids.” Meyers described the eight-year-oof event as a means to invest in the youth of the community in order to set them on a good path as they grow. “I think if we reach these kids when they’re young we won’t be paying for them in bad ways like jails when they’re growing up. It’s called an investment plan,” Meyers continued. The Center for Children is in its 28th year running, and was started as a way to provide mental health support and care for victims of child abuse. Over the years, the center has expanded its role to promote all child services.
“I like showing this in schools and to kids because it’s nothing but a big science project. Somebody won’t know why they’re in physics or math and I can show them the exciting parts,” Said Swartz, outside of his display with Blue Smoke Racing. Swartz was just one of dozens of supporters of the event which included police, fire and emergency services from within Charles County.
The event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., had 950 parents and children from throughout the community to come out in attendance. Due to weather concerns and availability, the event had to change from the usual venue at the Blue Crabs playing field at Regency Furniture Stadium to the parking lot of the Center for Children.
Despite the scheduling, the Touch-a-Truck was a success, with all funds raised in support of children’s mental health and Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.