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I suppose if you make it a practice to stand out in the middle of the highway you should expect unusual reactions from those who drive by.
The Ava Fire Department conducted its annual “Fill the Boot” campaign for Muscular Dystrophy Saturday, Sept. 1, at the junction of Highways 5 and 76 in Ava like they’ve done for decades. As a member of the Ava Volunteer Fire Department, I’ve participated in this charitable event for some 25 years, and over the years I have made some interesting observations. Sometime you just have to see the humor in circumstances to keep things from driving you crazy.
If you are one of the people I’m about to describe, please don’t take it personal. These are just observations we’ve made while standing on the yellow line.
First, some drivers believe if they don’t make eye contact, they are not obligated to give.
Fact is, we have never taken hostages. We don’t throw rocks and we won’t hit you with our fireman’s boot if you stop, and politely let us know that you don’t care to give. We enjoy visiting with those who come through, whether they give or not. With it being Labor Day weekend, we see several drivers from out of state – and certainly from other parts of our state – and I enjoy giving them a friendly greeting in Ava, Missouri.
Something I’ve wondered is, do people always drive that crazy or do they just drive that way because there are a bunch of guys standing in the road, creating somewhat of a distraction? We see a lot of near misses; are there always that many almost-accidents, or again, is it because we are creating a distraction, or is it because they are trying to get away before we accost them? (Refer to previous paragraph. We don’t take revenge on those who don’t give. Usually.)
Truly, some of the near misses are caused by those who are afraid to make eye contact with the solicitors. If they are looking away, they can’t really see the other cars in the intersection.
Another observation. Don’t judge drivers by the value of their vehicle. We see $100,000 vehicles and there are some that we wonder if we’re going to have to push them out of the intersection. There are exceptions, but I’d be willing to bet that we get more and bigger donations from the latter than the former.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, I want to make this one point very clear. Ninety-eight percent of those who drive through the Boot Block are pleasant. And the majority of the folks stop, wait their turn, and proceed through the intersection the way it is designed. Like anything else, it’s the unusual ones that get our attention, like the car (from Arkansas) that didn’t even slow down, much less stop.
Drivers were very generous, and very kind to those of us who worked the Boot Block. Due to limited personnel, we cut it off at noon, and even so, in a period of less than four hours we were able to collect over $1,400 for MDA. Compared to what other communities raised, ours was not much. But if we can send one kid to summer camp, or pay for one hour of research, or just fill one prescription one time, we’ve done something.
Immediately following the Boot Block we went back to the firehouse and counted the money. We reported $1,358 to MDA, quite a bit short of the actual amount of $1,433.66 counted by the ladies at the city and confirmed by the bank on Tuesday. Thank goodness they came up with more than we did. If their total had been less, it might have been hard to explain.
Of course, firefighters never claimed to be real smart. We’re the ones who run into burning buildings when everyone else runs out!
Thank you to everyone who made a contribution to help fill a boot somewhere on Labor Day 2012.