September 8, 2006

Atchison, KS - Sept. 8, 2006 - "Crossing the Bridge"

Crossing the Bridge
Atchison, KS, September 8th, 2006

By Michael Richmond
It all began midway across the bridge on US hwy. 59 as it crossed over from Missouri into Kansas across the Missouri River headed West into Atchison, Kansas. Crossing this bridge into Atchison, was like stepping into a chapter from “Blue Highways.”

Little did I know that what began as a scouting trip for this week-end’s Missouri River Relief’s first clean-up in this exceptional city, would show us just how a town could embrace our efforts to clean the Missouri River.

This clean-up began with this event being billed as the “Beginning of the End” of our final clean-ups for the Fall of 2006. As it turned out, I believe it was the “Beginning of New Opportunities” for this organization. Just as the bridge was bumpy, our new “reach” will also be bumpy!

I have written about the “moments” that we share at these events, but never, have I mentioned the beauty of the citizens that make these “moments” possible. This town, and it wonderful people, made this day, and the days that lead up to the clean-up, most special. To the last man and woman, this town became involved on a personal level that we do not normally see. Andy, Barney, Floyd and Aunt Bea all came to life and turned into real people. Thank you Corbin, John, Maria, Paul and ALL the other incredible individuals for making this day so special to all of the Missouri River Relief crew.

This wonderful town, with is spectacular river-front park, ramps and docks, made the rain that fell on Saturday seem meaningless. The education event held on Friday, was attended by over 800 students and teachers. Blue sky’s shown down upon our future that day!

The town also had a “beautification day” as well during our event, and by the end of the day, both the river and streets were free from trash. That effort brought smiles to so many that day, as such an accomplishment as this, is what brings us all together for a common good.

The St. Benedictine’s girls soccer team, the “boatload of nuns,” the beefy college boys, all contributed to the effort as well as so many more. This was a most wonderful day for all that were fortunate enough to participate.

Thank you Atchison for opening up your streets, homes and hearts to our Crew!