|Wayne and John Nielson stand with the Sunny Day Preschool children who all fit inside the bucket on the loader.|
At one time or another most children watch construction equipment at work and think of the thrill of being at the controls of such heavy, powerful machines. Recently the little kids at Sunny Day Preschool in Huntington were given the opportunity to meet some of their big kid counterparts at Nielson Construction for a demonstration of the capabilities of some of the heavy equipment the construction company uses on a daily basis.
Thirty-nine children from Carol Ann Stream's Sunny Day Preschool and some of their parents were given a tour of Nielson Construction's two asphalt plants and construction yard by Wayne Nielson, company president. The highlight of the afternoon came when the caravan of cars pulled into the Huntington construction yard where Nielson Construction's 130 ton Terex crane, a Caterpillar D-10N bulldozer and a Cat 988B loader waited for the children. Nielson gathered the children near the safety barricade tape and showed them a small model of a bulldozer, relating to them how when he was young he used to play with toys like that and dream of being able to run the kind of equipment that stood behind him now.
The children cheered as Brett Christensen, crane manager and Rolland Burgess, crane operator prepared the crane to lift a pickup and two automobiles high off the ground. As the cars and truck dangled in the air the children laughed and pointed.
When the vehicles were back on the ground Nielson gave the OK and John Nielson at the controls in a Cat D-10 made the bulldozer roar as he drove it up and over the vehicles.
Jeremy Guymon, at the controls in the massive loader, took turns with the loader bucket, rolling and lifting the now smashed vehicles like toys for the amusement of the preschoolers.
|The heavy equipment operators put on a show for the preschool children as they smash old cars.|
With the demonstration of the heavy equipment complete, all of the preschool children had the opportunity to stand in the bucket of the loader for pictures. They then went to the office for doughnuts and juice, where they received company T-shirts and caps.
With the day almost over, Tommy Bunnell, trucking manager, gave the children the opportunity to climb into the cab of one of Nielson Construction's semis to honk the air horn.
"It was the most fantastic time they ever witnessed," Stream said about her students. "This was far above and beyond the call for any field trip they have ever been on. It was a great experience from the adults all the way down to the preschoolers."
Stream said she overheard one of the children explaining to his grandfather what he had seen. "He smacked his hands together and said 'they smashed those cars flat as a pancake.'"
Remembering his own fascination with heavy equipment at that age, Nielson was only too happy to give the children a chance to see the equipment up close. "This was a lot of fun for us and I think it was for the children too."
John Nielson, watching the excited children streaming out of the building after an afternoon of excitement, summed up the day with a smile. "I think we found some new recruits," he said.