Good deed salvages a disappointing day

By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Apr 29, 2014
Photo by: Jessi Stone Rachel Robles holds up the bumper of her first car, which was used in a car smash last Saturday.

One unfortunate incident can set the tone for a bad day, but as I witnessed last weekend, sometimes one good deed can turn things around.

The Mountaineer Relay for Life team has been committed to being more hands on with our fundraising efforts this year. With guidance from our team captain Rick Bohleber, we came up with some great fundraisers that are also symbolic of this year’s theme, “Celebrating the Courage to Fight.”

Lifestyles editor Rachel Robles led the charge on a grapple-thon and self-defense class to be taught by her jujitsu dojo. First-time fundraisers are scary because you never know whether your handwork and planning will pay off, but it was a success! We raised more than $600 in a matter of two hours — completely worth it.

Then we decided we’d do a car smash fundraiser because Rachel had an old car sitting in her driveway just waiting to be destroyed. Everything else just fell in place — the American Legion let us use their parking lot, tow trucks volunteered to deliver the car and clean up the mess, we got the sledgehammers, the safety glasses and everything else we needed.

I can’t tell you how much fun we had spray-painting that car in all Relay purple pride. Saturday arrived and with beautiful weather and plenty of foot traffic downtown, it was a sure thing. But it wasn’t. For all the time we put into planning and executing, we only had a few people wanting to hit the car for a small donation.

Maybe we shouldn’t have done it while students were still on spring break, or maybe we could have advertised it better, or maybe we should have found a more prominent location, but it didn’t matter by then. I don’t like losing and this was a major loss in my eyes. I was grumpy and I could feel my skin scorching in the sun as we tried our best to get people to stop, but all we got were strange looks.

We ended up smashing most of the car by ourselves. Our reporter, Shelby Harrell, failed to put on gloves and got a piece of glass stuck in her finger, so I sent her home to clean it. It was down to Rachel and her husband, Robbie, a teacher at Tuscola, Tuscola student Austin Cowan and me.

As we stood there wondering how much more damage we could do to this poor car, we noticed a groundhog running from the woods behind the American Legion toward the woods on the other side of Legion Drive.

“Awe… look how cute,” I said.

But then it became clear to all of us watching that this groundhog was about to meet its untimely death. A car was driving past just as the groundhog darted into the road. With that helpless feeling in our gut, we watched as the groundhog became road kill.

That was it! This was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and there was no way to salvage it. We began cleaning up, and Rachel and Robbie left. Austin and I watched cars swerve around the groundhog while waiting for the tow truck to haul off our decimated car.

Then we noticed a truck stop in front of the groundhog. A man got out and casually walked over to the animal, picked it up by it’s tail and delivered it to the grassy knoll on the side of the road. He got back in his truck and continued on, waving to us as he drove past.

But it wasn’t until he drove by that I noticed who it was — Rep. Joe Sam Queen of Waynesville. The running joke is that Rep. Queen is everywhere. You see him walking at MedWest Fitness Center, you see him calling the square dances on Main Street, you see him leading parades and kissing babies at the March for Dimes event — and there he was again clearing the roadway when he thought no one was looking.

It was enough to redeem my day of disappointment. Thank you, Joe Sam Queen, for being there. I'm sure I'll see him May 9 at the Relay for Life event at the Waynesville Recreation Center.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 29, 2014 13:31

Politics aside, Mr. Queen is a good neighbor to have and part of that long history Dr. Hammett wrote about recently.  A true asset to the community.

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