A Joliet 8-year-old finally got a ride to school on a fire truck Monday, and she was thrilled, said her mother, Shayla Day of Joliet.
Sasha Davenport, 8, of Joliet, and Day attended Kidz Fest on Aug. 5 in Van Buren Plaza in downtown Joliet.
Activities included face-painting, an inflatable slide, magic shows, a petting zoo, pony rides, roller skating and a chance to win a ride to school on a Joliet Fire Department fire truck.
So Day entered Sasha’s name, and she won.
What kid wouldn’t want to ride a fire truck to school? It’s a good opportunity for the kids. And it’s a way for the Joliet City Center Partnership and the Joliet Fire Department to just make a child’s day.”— Priscilla Cordero, executive director of the Joliet City Center Partnership
John Koch, battalion chief of community risk reduction at the Joliet Fire Department, said the fire department does a few of these rides each year “just to be involved with our community.”
Koch feels the opportunity is a win-win-win for everyone.
“The kids love it, the parents love it, and the firefighters love it,” Koch said.
Priscilla Cordero, executive director of the Joliet City Center Partnership, said the program added the chance to ride on a fire truck to school to its Kidz Fest last year for the first time.
Enthusiasm for the opportunity was high, so even more people entered this time, Cordero said.
“What kid wouldn’t want to ride a fire truck to school?” Cordero said. “It’s a good opportunity for the kids. And it’s a way for the Joliet City Center Partnership and the Joliet Fire Department to just make a child’s day.”
Day said the firefighter, Capt. Eric Johnson, was “awesome.” He arrived early and spent time showing Sasha the tools and equipment the firefighters use.
“She learned firsthand about being a firefighter,” Day said.
As much as Sasha enjoyed the tutorial, that wasn’t her favorite part of the experience.
“I liked the siren,” Sasha said.
Sasha said she was allowed to sound the alarm when she arrived at her school, Eisenhower Academy in Joliet, a school in Joliet Public Schools District 86.
Teachers and students saw Sasha’s grand entrance, Sasha and Day said.
“It was during morning drop-off time, so the kids were sitting in cars with their parents,” Day said. “You could tell everyone was wondering what was going on.”
Day said she rode ahead of the fire truck so she could video record Sasha’s arrival.
“She did get to pull the horn,” Day said. “And it was very loud.”