May 05, 2023


Just days after being formally recognized as a "First Responders" organization, the Bulloch County Public Works Division will host a Touch-A-Truck event Monday afternoon, with all its ready friends from law enforcement, fire and emergency medical agencies bringing their big machines.

The public is invited to this free event, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. Monday, May 22, in and around the practice arena, which is just north of the main arena – yes, there are two arenas – at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex, 44 Arena Blvd. For this event, the preferred entrance will be via Arena Boulevard from U.S. Highway 301," said Broni Gainous, community relations manager for the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners.

"It's National Public Works Week, so that's why we’re hosting it," Gainous said. "It's sort of a kickoff to several activities we have internally (to the county government), but this is our external event, to show the public what we do with public works, whether that be roads or transportation for our fleet."

The Public Works Division's main roles are road maintenance, solid waste collection, maintenance of the county's fleet of vehicles and machinery, and maintenance of the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport. But the division regularly assists public safety agencies in emergencies and clears away debris after storms.

Other agencies slated to represent at Touch-A-Truck are the Bulloch County Fire Department, Bulloch County EMS, Bulloch County Animal Services, the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office, the Statesboro Police Department, Statesboro Fire Department, Statesboro's city Stormwater Division, the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia State Patrol and Air Evac.

Both Air Evac and the State Patrol are expected to bring helicopters, so those will be parked outside the arena, near the event entrance. The choppers will be on static display, Gainous confirmed, unless they have to take off in response to an emergency. No rides are offered.

Other equipment, mostly touchable, will be on display inside the arena. The Public Works Division itself will bring examples of its bulldozers, skid-steer loaders, dump trucks and motor graders.

In addition to a fire truck, Bulloch County Fire will bring the department's fire demonstration house, where people can enter and learn how to make a quick exit in case of a fire or safely extinguish a stovetop flare-up, for example, Gainous said.

The Statesboro Police Department is slated to bring its armored truck and a patrol utility vehicle; the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office, its Emergency Response Team vehicle and also a patrol car. The Statesboro Fire Department will bring a fire truck; the Stormwater Division, a vacuum truck used for clearing drains.

Bulloch County Recreation and Parks, which operates the Ag Complex, also plans to have equipment on display. The county Human Resources office has reserved a booth, since the county government has some job openings, Gainous said.

Kickback Shack and Wavee Shavee are scheduled to bring food trucks and sell meals or snacks and icy treats.

Official first responders

Also with Public Works Week in mind, the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners during their meeting Tuesday morning, May 16, presented a proclamation recognizing Bulloch County Public Works Division employees as first responders for their service in emergencies.

Reading the proclamation, commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson noted that public works personnel who participate in disaster response were granted federal recognition as first responders by then-President George W. Bush in a 2003 executive order.

The local designation had been requested by Bulloch County Public Works office coordinator Alexis Knox and Public Works Director Dink Butler and unanimously authorized by the commissioners during a meeting in March.

"It just recognizes the crew, gives them a little moral support that they are recognized as being a critical member of the response teams," Butler said Tuesday. "It doesn't change anything that we do. We respond on a daily basis with the Sheriff's Department and EMS and Fire in different things, and we’re first responders on storms.