The Ultimate Challenge

Mercer County Sheriffs Officers Local 187 members put their strength to the test at the first-ever SONJ Fire Truck Pull

On April 22, a team of eight Mercer County Sheriffs Officers Local 187 members gathered at the West Trenton Volunteer Fire Department in Ewing for the ultimate test of strength. Hosted by Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ), the members participated in the Fire Truck Pull along with members from other Locals to raise money for SONJ.

In the past, SONJ has hosted an airplane pull. But due to the pandemic, SONJ transitioned the event to a Fire Truck Pull. And Local 187 wanted to show their support for Special Olympics at this one-of-a-kind event.

“We announced it at a PBA meeting, and we actually had to choose from our group because we had so many,” said Local 187 State Delegate Pat Papero. “We just kind of wanted to see what it was about the first year, but we’ll probably have enough volunteers for two teams next year.”

Local 187 members were joined by 21 teams across New Jersey, including Trenton Local 11, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Local 339 and Ewing Township Local 111. This year’s inaugural event raised more than $24,000 for the Special Olympics.

“It was nice to be able to see everybody get together and enjoy that moment of raising the money for a great cause,” Papero expressed.

Mustering their strength, Local 187 members entered two timed events to pull a 30,000-pound fire truck, which encompassed a fastest pull of 12 feet and a lowest combined weight of team members to pull 12 feet within two minutes.

After the first-ever Special Olympics New Jersey Fire Truck Pull, participants gather to take a group photo.

Papero cheered on his members from the Local 187 trailer, where he provided refreshments like donuts, bagels, juice and hot coffee to supporters and members.

At the end of the Fire Truck Pull, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was awarded first place for the fastest time. But Local 187 members were already planning to return again next year and bring more members with them to make a run for the top spot.

“I think it’ll double what we had this year,” Papero added as he looked ahead to the 2024 SONJ Fire Truck Pull. “The eight members who were there all said they’re coming back next year. So I think we’re going to be able to have another team as well. We’re very competitive and it’s friendly competition, so we’ll see if anybody else wants to get involved.”