Teams pull Boeing 727 as fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House

The threat of rain didn't deter about 2,000 people from coming out to see who could pull a 150,000-pound FedEx Boeing 727 jet in the fastest time.


Ipswitch, a team of computer programmers, won overall Saturday for the second year in a row, pulling the plane 12 feet in 6.499 seconds -- more than five seconds faster than last year's time.

"I guess it's all the doughnuts we eat," Tripp Allen joked. "All of that -- and working out on the keyboard."

So many people were left scratching their heads over Ipswitch's win over teams that included Gold's Gym, the Army, the Navy and the CSRA Cobras football team, that there were rematches at the end. But Ipswitch took it every time.

"We'll take it again next year," Allen said.

For 16 years, FedEx has organized about 20 Plane Pulls a year to benefit charities.

"For FedEx to come back is a big deal," said Carolyn Tynan, the president of the Ronald McDonald House board of directors.

Saturday's event benefitted the Ronald McDonald House and its new house, on which construction should begin next year.

The house on Greene Street holds 10 families, but with Doctors Hospital announcing the addition of more pediatric beds, Barbara Meeks, the secretary of the Ronald McDonald House's board of directors, said it just isn't large enough.

The new home, tentatively planned near Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center, will house up to 20 families.

Pfc. Wesley Beights was there helping teams that didn't have the required 20 members.

"It's just amazing the amount of support the community has put together for this," he said. "It's almost hard for me to put into words."

Beights and his wife, Tonya, of Arkansas, have a personal connection with the Ronald McDonald House, having stayed there for four months while their daughter, born at 26 weeks and 1-pound, 10-ounces, was at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics.

In last year's Plane Pull, 27 teams participated, raising just under $20,000. This year, 36 teams came out.


IPSWITCH: First place overall and first place, business

HOPE ON A ROPE -- MCG NICU: First place, hospital

CSRA COBRAS: First place, community, and Team Spirit


URS CORP.: Biggest Heart (largest donation)