Community Pulls Together to Raise Money for NEADS
By Daniel Monahan
WESTMINSTER -- Strength and stamina were the name of the game on Saturday, when teams worked together to pull a full-sized flatbed truck to help raise money for NEADS World Class Service Dogs.
The third annual Pulling 4 Paws Truck Pull event, which was held at Wachusett Brewing Company, kicked off with 15 teams racing against the clock to see who could pull the 26,940-pound truck 20 feet the fastest.
Team Muscleworks, the reigning champion made up of gym members, said they were hoping to nab another win and have fun in the process.
“We have to defend the title, but it’s also for a good cause,” said Muscleworks Gym owner Jeffrey Bussiere. “We like to help out, try to get involved in the community, and get members of the gym to do something as a team.”
Bussiere said his team was having fun during the practice rounds of the truck pull. He also said that his team doesn’t know if there is a specific strategy to pulling the truck faster.
“If there is, we’re still trying to figure it out,” he said.
One team had some young talent to help them out. The Aubuchon Hardware Pawsitive Pullers finished with 7.77 seconds and had some help from young Lucy Aubuchon, 7, and Burke Aubuchon, 9.
“They did really great,” said team captain Bernard Aubuchon. “We had some people who couldn’t make it, so we decided to recruit them.”
Aubuchon said the truck was heavier than last year, but the key was to break the momentum and get the wheels turning.
“We already do some charity work for NEADS, so this was a perfect opportunity,” he said. “It’s good to see events like this in the community.”
Princeton Fire Chief John Bennett said his team was happy to return for a second year to support the fundraiser.
“It’s a really good cause,” said Bennett. “You’re raising money for people who are in need, so we are happy to participate.”
Bennett said the event is fun for the team, but added that he was “a little broken.” He said he was participating despite five broken ribs and a separated shoulder. Though it hurt, he said the fire department will support anybody raising money for a good cause.
As for his team’s strategy, “just pull,” Bennett said.
Gerry DeRoche, CEO of NEADS, said he was happy to see members of the community show up to support the organization. He said the event typically raises about $20,000 for the organization.
When asked about why the fundraiser was a truck pull, DeRoche said he wanted grab people’s attention.
“We wanted to do something a bit different that was in the local area,” he said.
DeRoche said the event has grown every year in terms of participating teams and attendance. He said he hopes to have even more teams and spectators at next year’s event.
“Our goal is to continue to grow the event,” said DeRoche. “It’s a fun event and the community is really coming out to support us.”
NEADS Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Princeton that offers service dog programs for adults and children.