Progressive Agriculture Farm Safety Day

Posted on August 27, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day

A while back I was invited by some folks in Richland County, Illinois to come and speak at their Farm Safety Day.  The date was set for August 25th and I would speak to some kids 9 years old and up as well as speaking during a special session just for the parents.   What I was to talk to them about was the dangers of methamphetamines.  This would be the first time they would have a speaker come in and basically give a life story, it was also the first time that they were doing a parents’ session.

On Friday the 24th, I drove down to Olney, Illinois right after work arriving in town right around 7:30 p.m. Illinois time.  Now I did expect to see corn fields but holy cow!  When I got off of I-70 in Greenup to go south on Rt. 130 I didn’t expect to see about 40 miles of nothing BUT corn!  Regardless, it was a good safe trip and I enjoyed the 3 hour drive.

The folks putting on the event put me up in the Super 8 Motel for the night and let me tell you something, I’ve been in some fine, high class hotels and none of them could top the shower in this one.  I took a 30 minute shower and washed myself twice!  No aroma-therapy candles and soap, no salon shampoos and conditioners but damn.  They had this setting on the shower head that felt just like rain, not too hard, not too light.   Absolutely perfect.  And it was soooo spacious.  No hitting the walls with your elbows, no brushing the curtain with your tush, oh man it was great. 

Anyway, Deputy Sheriff Michael Burton (the guy who got me involved in this) met me at the motel after serving a warrant and we went to Burger King to talk about stuff.  Unfortunately he had to go back to the place where he just served that warrant so I went back to the hotel and the rest of the night consisted of myself and Lauren chatting on Maurice’s Message Board.

Well the big day was here and my first group was the parents. Michael Burton introduced me and warned the adults that this session (which was an hour and lasted the longest) was going to be uncensored.  It seemed to me that it went over well.  These are good decent people who truly care for their kids and their community.  Their questions were on point and it was amazing to learn how many of them had already been effected by meth and its manufacture.  I even got interviewed on live radio!  How cool is that?

The kids were amazing too.  I expect to have inattentive kids in the bunch.  I expect to have smartass kids in the bunch.  These kids all paid attention and were very respectful as I talked and afterwards when the questions came (well, they came from the nine year olds).   Hopefully it had the intended effect on them.  I go in knowing full well that these kids are eventually going to make their own decisions in life, I just want them to make an informed one.  Information that comes from a first source is usually the best.

I must say that those folks in Olney really know how to feed a brother.  It was the first time I ever had Pork Burgers.  OMG those were some of the best things I’d ever eaten, I was told that they were fresh too.  I mean fresh as in the pig may have been slaughtered that morning or the night before.  Damn that was good stuff.  After the speaking sessions I said my good-byes to some of the staff that was working there and went with Michael Burton to a steakhouse in town…mmmmm….prime rib.  Then we went for a drive around some of the county to look at where they are storing the anhydrous ammonia tanks, where the cooks are getting the iodine tincture and muriatic acid (all three are ingredients for meth), and also took me by some places that had been busted too.

It’s a sad situation out there.  It’s like half the county is being devastated by it.  I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the Sheriff’s department out there for taking the problem to the troublemakers themselves.  One thing that I hope to see is the citizenry making the dope dealers and dope users scared of them rather than vice-versa.  I’m looking forward to going back.  The Sheriff is going to talk to the school Superintendent about bringing me in to talk to the entire High School.  That will be fun I’m sure.  Doing this kind of thing (reaching out to the kids and adults) is something I always consider exciting. 

A big thanks to all of the Orange Shirts at the Farm Safety Day who made me feel so welcome, a big thanks to Brenda Dehlinger who was kind enough and brave enough to invite me to speak to her groups.  Thank you to the parents who came up to me afterwards and thanked me.  Thank you to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department:  Andy, Robbie, Brandon and Dennis.  You gentleman were more than kind and considerate and you’re doing a great job, I know it’s hard but you’re fighting the good fight.  And last but not least thank you to Michael Burton for basically baby-sitting me for a day and a half and showing me around.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time with you and I look forward to meeting with you again in the future.  Everyone was great and more than accommodating.  I look forward to coming back.




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