Clifton Tank Pull Recap - 80,000 Pounds of Togetherness
Sunday morning dawned cool and cloudy, great weather for the many volunteers who would be fighting gravity by pulling an 80,000 pound weight while raising funds for Veterans' charities and for local veterans and families. Participants wore matching light blue T-shirts with the Tank Pull logo on the front and their organization name on the back.
As a huge tank from the 1950s, no longer in active use in the world sat atop a flatbed truck, people young and old strolled Clifton Avenue looking at various exhibitors all with a focus on Clifton. A comprehensive list is on the Tank Pull website. The Clifton Times was there for the morning’s pulls, cheering on all the teams and speaking with the various support organizations. Event organizers all wore red shirts, explaining that red was a symbol of, and tribute to, all those military who “made the ultimate sacrifice” on the battlefield, red for the blood that was shed and lost in combat. The Emcees kept up a lively chatter during and between pulls, poking gentle fun and encouraging all at the same time.
However, the event was anything but somber. Teams were photographed smiling before the pull, were cheered on by the many Clifton residents gathered on the park side of Clifton Avenue and treated to a lunch that included cheeseburgers, chips and ice cream for dessert. Organizer Tony Latona said that virtually all the refreshments were donated locally and that expenses were “minimal” for staging the event. Thomas Marriello, who had pulled for two events, said afterwards that he "really enjoyed the ice cream, it was it was very good!"
Many of the entries were from teams that compete yearly, including groups from local Catholic Charities, Knights of Columbus, Clifton Police, Clifton Fire, and several Veterans Groups. New this year was Clifton P.R.A.I.S.E., our special needs sports team. Coaches Robert and Gabriella Marriello said they brought 14 children who pulled with enthusiasm and “had a blast, they were so excited to be a part of this!" Many of the children’s parents were equally excited and said they planned to go again next year. Gabriella added that the event became a teaching moment for the children to learn about veterans and added that it was a chance for others to see these children working together for a cause.
Vendors came with information on their services, ranging from Passaic County Surrogate Office, Passaic County Clerk Office, NewBridgeHeath Medical Center, which now has a Veteran’s division, and Operation Sisterhood, among others. There were brochures and fliers to pick up and read as well as QR Codes to learn more and make onsite donations.
While interviewing the women who ran Operation Sisterhood, I was asked if I’d like to take part and pull so of course, the answer was yes (strictly in the quest of excellence in journalism, of course!) I spoke with the women veterans (two different women’s Veterans organizations actually participated, as this is a group that has been largely ignored by many help groups until recently). They spoke of the sisterhood they shared and the camaraderie that transcended their differences, explained that their needs differ from men’s in many ways. And then came time to get together and PULLLL….we worked as a team, cheering each other on and hearing lots of “You go, girl!” from the crowd. Soon enough it was over, we hugged one another and waited for the final results to be announced after that afternoon’s competition.
While it’s too early to know who raised the most money, as donations are still coming in, congratulations go to the following teams for the other two competitions:
For Quickest Team Pull:
Pullin Badgers: 6.10 seconds
NFL Alumni: 7.10
IBEW Local 743: 7.42
For Lowest Weight Pull:
Operation Sisterhood: 176 pounds
Vergona Crane: 184
NJSOS Vets: 206
Congratulations to all the participants, sponsors, and organizers. Job well done!