The shelves at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank are a little fuller and CES Firefighters are a little prouder today thanks to a fun idea that library aide Sharon Hale came up with at Redoubt Elementary School. It was CES Firefighter Brad Nelson vs. State Trooper Sgt. Larry Erickson last week in a shopping cart match race down Redoubt's hallways. "We were looking for a fun way to encourage our kids to bring a non-perishable food item for our annual food drive for the Food Bank and it popped into my brain to have a little competition between the State Troopers and CES Firefighters and it really did turn out be a fun event for everyone," Hale told the Dispatch in a post derby interview.
According to Redoubt Principal John Pothast, "Chief Turkey" for the day, all students with a non-perishable food item were allowed a hall pass for the race, "Safeway lent us grocery carts for the competitors to drive and kids with food items lined the hallways as the Troopers took off in one direction with one student assistant, and the Fire department in the other direction to put the student's food items into their carts as quickly as possible," explained Pothast.
Participants took the challenge seriously with Sgt. Larry Erickson representing the determined State Troopers assisted by Cody Archer and CES assistant Fire Marshall Brad Nelson carting for the fire fighters assisted by Jake Marcuson. Nelson and Marcuson made a quick start showing great form down the northern side of the hallway while Erickson and Archer did the best they could to keep up on the south side. "It was a hard race it was all I could do to keep up with my assistant third grader Cody, he was extremely fast, the cart got heavy and I just couldn't keep up with him," said Sgt. Erickson.
Speaking to his strategy for victory Nelson said, "I came to school ahead of time and scoped out the fastest kid during recess and chose him for my assistant and that was my secret for victory today as we rocked the Redoubt hallways," proclaimed Nelson. Talk of a rematch was underway as Pothast and Hale organized the collected items for delivery to the Food Bank, "I can't begin to estimate how much was collected at this time, but there were at least four full shopping carts full. I don't know about the rematch, that may not happen until next year as next Friday our cart drivers will be Principal Pothast himself who has been matched up against our PE teacher Mr. Withrow," said Hale.
In discussing the coming challenge all Pothast had to say was, "Gobble, Gobble!" In reflecting on the memory making day for the kids Pothast commented, "Making learning fun is the purpose of education and really what we want to get kids thinking about here is the purpose of helping others and the people having hard times this year. The lifetime memory will be of the police and firemen racing through the halls, but the lesson here is that there are people in our community that need some assistance and that it's what we do as a community to help each other that makes life fun," he said.
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