ODOT crews donate Tonka trucks for Christmas

Crew members from the state Department of Transportation delivered a large number of the ever-popular Tonka trucks to the Prineville Fire Hall early this week. Raising money for the purchase of the bright yellow trucks, which look a lot like ODOT trucks, has become a tradition for crews located around Region 4 which covers nearly all of the tri-county area. With the Tonka trucks, alongside a real ODOT truck are, from left to right, an unidentified ODOT crew member, Prineville Fire Fighters Dan Freauff and Ryan Nelson, and Rick Loynes, Jeff Neashem and Mike Wendel. This is the second year crews have raised funds and purchased Tonka trucks, and the number of trucks donated to fire fighters for distribution has grown. This year a total of 83 trucks were purchased for needy children.
During this holiday season Oregon Department of Transportation maintenance crews in central Oregon are giving back to their communities. The giving is with a special gift for underprivileged children to place under the tree.
   Mike Wendel, Transportation Maintenance Specialist in Prineville led the effort to provide big, bright yellow Tonka trucks to kids in the area. A total of 83 trucks will be distributed to youngsters in Bend, Prineville, Sisters, Silver Lake and Madras. The yellow dump trucks each have the ODOT Flying T logo and the American Flag emblazoned on the the doors. Each is also numbered to coincide with Region 4)s fleet. A bag of items goes along with the trucks, filled with bubble pens, stickers, magnets and coloring books.
   The trucks will be delivered to children in time for Christmas. This is the second year Wendel and other maintenance specialists in the region have presented Tonka trucks for needy kids. Wendel's effort has raised more than $600 for the goodwill project.