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Shamrocks Celebrate Kids

o 22ce0By George L. Nitti

In Holyoke, Massachusetts, the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country (New York City's is the largest) will take place. More than 400,000 people are expected to attend.

Founded by Bernard "Red" Sheehan in 1958, Red's Towing Transport and Recovery in Springfield will continue its tradition of sponsoring the event, enabling Holyoke's high school band to perform while showcasing their Irish pride with their 2014 Western Star/Century 60-ton rotator.

They mark this special occasion by dolling up their rotator with shamrocks, a symbol of Ireland that represents the Holy Trinity, as well as standing for faith, love and hope.

According to General Manager Chad Willard, who is also the driver, the shamrock decals are placed all over the truck just before the event. Each shamrock contains very special names: the children of the employees that work at Red's.

"The kids go to the event and can see their names on the truck. It's a family event that everyone goes to," said Willard, whose children Ava, 9, and Garret, 11, are among the names displayed. "Every year the truck gets a great response, and the crowds love it."

Contrasting the green shamrocks is the unit's all-black body, with the company name in large, bold red lettering that tilts upward on the side door of the unit. The boom is painted red, balancing to the overall color scheme of the truck.

The company boasts more than 30 pieces of equipment, including six heavy-duty units.

"This rotator is used every day," Willard said. "The Western Star holds the ground well and its frame is very strong."

The shamrocks are left on for about a month after the event.

"At the end of a month or so," Willard stated, "we take the decals off as we don't want to leave the outline markings of the shamrock to do damage to the paint."

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