Jim Powers' eyes filled and his voice cracked just a bit as he spoke about Kidz Dig Rigz sponsored by Kadlec Foundation. Jim's involvement with the event has helped to raise over $50,000 for the Foundation.
"I had never seen such happiness," he said referring to the two-year-old event staged in Columbia Park. "There are kids climbing all over this big equipment. Horns are blaring. There is so much fun everywhere, and so many people doing all this for children."
Jim's involvement with Kidz Dig Rigz began in 2011, when Foundation board member Lori Lott approached him about a new event being put together by the Foundation Board and its Pediatric Champions Society.
"I didn't even really know the Kadlec Foundation existed," he said with a chuckle. "But I'm just a big boy who never outgrew toys; now I just have big-boy toys. As we talked, we began to dream."
While Jim's business, Powers Equipment Co. Inc., has its own big rigs he brings, he has also been instrumental in lining up other equipment, as well – 50 rigs in all – for Kidz Dig Rigz. There is a Hero Zone, which includes police cars, ambulances and fire trucks. There is a Construction Zone, an Agriculture Zone and a Hot Rod Zone.
"We start setting up Wednesday afternoon and work right up until the gates open Saturday morning," he said. His daughter, Jane, and the rest of his employees at Powers Equipment, all join in, too. "We are all working together for the kids and for the community."
Not only is the event fun, it has a serious purpose. It raises money to support the work of the Foundation, and, in particular, the Pediatric Champions Society, a subcommittee of the Foundation.
In the two years of the event, over $50,000 has been raised by Kidz Dig Rigz. "We get to help the community," said Jim. "We get to give back in a way that we can and support an event that makes a difference, while the kids are having lots of fun, too."