'Monsters' event keeps Janesville nonprofit in motion

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Monday, September 19, 2011
— Tears rolled down the rosy cheeks of Sam Monroe as he sucked on his pacifier for comfort Sunday morning.

The 2-year-old had just finished a ride in a front-end loader with his dad, Brian Monroe of Janesville. Sam didn’t want the experience to end.

“He said, ‘More ride,’” mom Lexi Monroe said, trying to console her toddler.

Sam didn’t make a peep during the ride, Brian said.

“He just loved it,’’ Brian said while the family waited in line with 4-year-old Max Monroe so he could ride on excavation equipment.

“They just love construction,” Lexi said.

“Here we can come and get a look at everything up close, and they get a chance to ride, which is cool.’’

The added bonus: The boys got to wear pint-size construction hats.

“He’s not taking it off,” Lexi said of Max.

Rain and unseasonably low temperatures Sunday didn’t keep families away from the Exchange Family Resource Center’s Monster Machines in Motion.

One hour after the annual fundraiser started, 100 families had passed through the admission gate at the quarry for Frank Silha & Sons excavating company at Wright Road and Delavan Drive, Janesville.

“It’s a family-friendly event where kids can ride on and do things they’re not used to doing,’’ said Nancy Brooks, director.

The event allows children to inspect and experience big machinery—tractors, backhoes, front loaders and monster trucks. It is the center’s only fundraiser, and an average 1,200 people attend each year. It has brought in between $10,000 and $15,000 each of the past nine years.

“Proceeds pay for rent and utilities for the year,” Brooks said.

“Grants pay for direct services,” she added.

The Exchange Family Resource Center offers advice, education and training for parents and other caregivers.

Also enjoying the event were siblings Nicholas Attoe, 6, and Emma Attoe, 4, Janesville, who searched for pennies in the money pit—a sand pile with buried pennies. Nicholas used his hands to dig for the hidden treasure, while Emma used a plastic sifter.

Nearby, their mother, Janet Attoe, collected their findings in plastic bags. She said the family, including grandpa, attended to enjoy the big machinery.

“It’s something the kids don’t (typically) get to see or do,’’ she said.

Riding the caterpillar backhoe was a big thrill for Nick again this year, Janet said, adding this was the fourth time the family had attended.

“It was bumpy,” Nick said of his experience.

“It’s such a neat experience for the kids,’’ Janet said.

Grandparents also accompanied the Mary and Derek Greene family from Janesville during their second adventure at Monster Machines in Motion.

“My dad’s family had a construction company in upstate New York. We’re so excited to have him come today from Milwaukee,” Mary said.

Her father, Lee Wolcott, agreed: “I think this is fantastic and for a great cause.’’

Jeff Knopes and Clinton Ellefson of J&W Transfer and Storage, Janesville, spent their Sunday volunteering their time and equipment.

“It’s a worthy cause,” Ellefson said.

Last updated: 6:19 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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