Long Beach Firefighters Pull Plane For Special Olympics

Long Beach Firefighters take a turn at pulling a 124,000-pound jet 12 feet last year during a fundraiser for Special Olympics Southern California.

Twenty-five people at one end of a rope, a 124,000-pound UPS jet on the other end.

Can they pull it?

The answer will come Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Long Beach Airport in the 14th annual Special Olympics Southern California Plane Pull. Last year's event raised $190,000, and this year's goal is the $250,000 mark.

Teams of 25 form to see who can pull the jet the farthest the fastest. Companies, clubs, even the Long Beach Police Department have fielded teams in the past.

Teams commit to raising a minimum of $1,500 — individuals sign up for a minimum $60 pledge, then fill in for teams that couldn't round up 25 people. People also participate by sponsoring a team, an individual or making a general donation.

The Plane Pull has grown to be more than just pulling a plane,” Bill Shumard, Special Olympics Southern California's CEO, said. “It is a family-friendly event, offering something for everyone. It is such a great way to be a part of our movement of inclusion and acceptance, while helping us serve more athletes, changing their lives, the lives of their families, and of the community.”

Registration opens at 8 a.m. Saturday, and the first pull is at 10 a.m. Activities run to 3 p.m. Parking is at 2830 E. Wardlow Rd., and is free.

For more information or to sign up, go to www.sosc.org/lbplanepull.

—Harry Saltzgaver

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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