Thanks to all of those listed below (alumni, boosters, former Pioneer Staff, personal friends, current members, and people who I regretfully do not recognize. Regardless of the amount, it was your intensions and desire to be of help that leaves me so grateful. “Love you all!”
HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
The corps had a great rehearsal day, late evening supper, clean-up and then the fleet left the school’s parking lot. The usual order for the fleet traveling was the equipment truck first, then the camper/trailer, the four buses, and finally the food truck. The school was located on top of a high hill in Dubuque.
We headed out on the usual route which entailed a long, high hill with a stop sign at the bottom of the hill. The problem was that there were several neighbors’ cars parked on the corners that we needed to turn on. Several of us pounded on house doors, and admit with the idling of 6 diesel vehicles, none of the neighbors answered.
Using our usual GPS, the lead truck rerouted going through a few neighborhoods on narrow roads that lead us to a very steep downward hill. We recognized the hill’s steepness and we radioed to each other, to proceed “one vehicle at a time.” The equipment truck made it. The camper/trailer was next to go. The driver, Mrs. Carol Hellman and Roman Blenski were sitting in front. All of a sudden Carol exclaimed, “My brakes are not holding.” The emergency brakes had no effect. I radioed the buses, “Don’t come!” and we slammed into about a four foot stone wall. The camper went up and over the wall, but it came to an abrupt dead stop before an enormous descent down the cliff into some huge trees. The reason the camper hung up from not going over the cliff was because it was towing a trailer with the two golf carts that got held up by the huge rocks on the stone wall.
Mrs. Hellman and I were thrown against the windshield, but not hurt. Neighbors came with ladders to help us out and up the hill.
In the meantime two tow trucks and a crane were called to lift the camper up off the side of the hill. The police re-routed the rest of the corps. The tow truck drivers disconnected the drive shaft, drained the propane tank, and the full 50 gallon tank of fuel. As the tow trucks held the camper, the trailer with two golf carts was disconnected and the crane pulled up the vehicle off the side of the hill. It was very painful to hear and observe as the crunching sound of metal and plastic breaking up was taking place.
Some kind neighbors from Dubuque offered the use of their bathrooms and gave Carol and I a plate of tuna sandwiches and chips! This for sure was a memorable evening full of “challenges!”
My wife, Sue, brought our family’s Suburban, driving up all the way from Milwaukee, and we continued the tour, now running the corps and ourselves out of boxes, now in a much smaller, but comfortable vehicle.
Thankfully between your generous donations and insurance, we will be allowed to get a replacement vehicle for next summer. So now you know the rest of the story.
Humbly, but Better Every Day!.....Let’s keep in touch!
PS: If I forgot to list your donation or member number, please let men know!
If you would like to donate, your name will be added to this list. Once we purchase another camper, all names will be engraved on a plaques for display at Pioneerland.
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