Confession: I’m not a football fan. But I’m a fan of Tony Cerulle. He was a faithful reader when I was at Hemmings, he contributed to my blog — Clunker Nation — a few years back, and he’s the guy in charge of the amphibious trucks at Boston’s Duck Tours. When Boston teams win championships, Tony and his team at Boston Duck Tours springs into action, even when the trucks are hibernating for the winter.
Tony Cerulle is Boston Duck Tours’ Chief Engineering Officer. That’s a pretty fancy title, but what it means is that Tony is responsible for keeping all of Boston Duck Tours’ trucks in top running condition, whether the sun is shining or not.
The trucks are pretty amazing. They got their name from the GMC amphibious transports that the company built to land soldiers during World War II:
D: GMC letter for a vehicle built in 1942
K: GMC letter for front driven front wheels
W: GMC letter for vehicles with two powered rear axles
George Kennedy wrote a great piece on the trucks for BoldRide in 2013, after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series and the trucks were called into service for the Red Sox victory parade through Boston:
The Duck Boats were used everywhere from Guadalcanal to the Normandy landing, but they were only meant for use through the war. The platform, based on a “Deuce and a Half” military vehicle, was not envisioned for long-term service. But many found homes as tourist vehicles around the country. According to Tony, a trip to the Midwest brought the Boston idea to life.
Since the mid-1990s, the Duck Boats have been a regular fixture around the city of Boston, hauling tourists around to attractions of note throughout the city, before plunging into the Charles River near the Museum of Science for some wet wheeling.
When the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2002, the opportunity arose to haul the team through the streets of Boston during the victory parade. What got Duck Tours the contract was the price: “The City of Boston asked local trolley companies as well as us what they’d charge to carry the players in the parade,” Cerulle explained to BoldRide. “We said we’d do it for free which I guess was good enough to get it!”
Victory parades don’t always happen when it’s convenient. Usually it’s within a day when the team is local, as the Red Sox were. Since the Patriots required some travel time back to Boston, the parade is tomorrow.
That’s not such great news for anyone concerned with prepping for the parade, because Boston is currently blanketed with a foot of new snow today, after receiving a two-foot blast from a blizzard last Tuesday. Nevertheless, Mayor Marty Walsh has ordered that snow needs to be removed on Boston’s Boylston Avenue by 11 tomorrow, and that Tony Cerulle’s trucks have to be up and running.
Mayor @marty_walsh will host a Patriots victory parade at 11am tomorrow, Feb 3. Parade will begin at Prudential Tower and end at City Hall.
— City of Boston (@NotifyBoston) February 2, 2015
Right now, Tony and his team are readying 25 trucks for the parade, digging the shop out from under a foot of snow, and reviving trucks that were put away for the winter. Tony posted this photo to his Facebook feed a few minutes ago:
It’s the 9th time that Tony’s trucks will be a part of Boston’s celebrations since 2002.
Thanks to Tony and his crew for making such a Herculean effort to make this parade happen.