“Every year we do bigger and better and this year is no exception,” says Wishes on Wheels President, Al Spranzo.
For kids dealing with tough illnesses early in life, easy times don’t come often. When they do get a wish, it’s heard loud and clear.
All different kinds of trucks come out in droves to join in on the 11 mile convoy from Rentschler Field every year.
Truck drivers spend the entire year preparing for this day.
“We go all out for this,” says Antwon Smith, a driver for Axle & Smith Truck Repair who has been participating in the event for the past 12 years. “This past month has been a non-stop process. We live and breathe it. You [have to] kind of just go all in for these kids. It’s what we’re all about.”
They go all in because their cargo is extra special: kids from the make a wish foundation and their families.
“It’s an absolutely amazing experience to have some of these kids and their families when they’re burdened with devastating illnesses to give them a few minutes and let them run the truck basically,” says West Stafford Fire Chief, Joe Lorenzetti. The West Stafford Fire Department has been sending trucks since the convoys third year.
Of course a fire truck is a hot commodity here at the Wishes on Wheels and that’s because once a kid gets a special spot in the fire truck, they’re able to take control of the air horns and the sirens.
“Usually my instructions to them are these buttons are yours and you can make all the noise you want,” says Lorenzetti.
For some wish kids, like Brayden, picking a fire truck out of the many other options was easy.
“Daddy works on a fire truck”, says five year old Brayden Warriner.
Every truck in the convoy pays a $25 registration fee.
This year more than 600 trucks hopped in line and the carnival afterwards brought thousands of people out to Rentschler Field.
Last year’s convoy raised more than $100,000 for the Connecticut Make-a-Wish Foundation.