God Bless You Man
21 Aug 2008
God Bless You Man
Our family has been growing giant pumpkins for competition for the last twenty years. We have won many contests and once started a business shipping giant pumpkins all over the USA.
I even had cards printed that said "The Pumpkin Man!" and featured a photo of our daughter dressed as a pumpkin.
With time our world changed and although we still competed in contests, we grew our garden more for the fun of it.
Then came September 11, 2001. We all held our breath waiting.
"What could we do to heal America?"
Then one day I woke up and had the answer to that question!
We would take our best looking pumpkin to New York City to help them smile.
Our best pumpkin weighed just over 500 pounds and was perfect in shape.
I excitedly told my boss Jill about my plan and she was all for it! So off I went trying to find a place to take it, after just over a week of frustration, I was starting to get discouraged. I didn't know what to do next, then Jill came up with several new people to contact and maps of where to go if we were finally going to get the go ahead to succeed.
On October 10, 2001, one of our leads finally came through. We received a call from the Red Cross at the New York Family Assistance Center. It was like a dream come true! They said they would love to have the Pumpkin, when could you deliver it? I told them I wanted to deliver it tomorrow on the 1-month anniversary of the crashing of the World Trade Center. I was told no problem; they would love to have it. I told them that I have to carve it first, then I could leave at 3:00am and I would be there by 4:00pm the next day. They said that would be great!
My manager at work told me to go home and get it done. My wife Lorraine and I carved the pumpkin for 6 hours, only cutting it 1/2" deep into the skin, mostly because they wanted it to last for several weeks and this is the only way we could do it. Normally we cut right through to the inside, but if we did that it may not have lasted till Halloween.
We started this operation at 4:00pm on Oct 10th and finished at 10pm. By the time we finished loading the pumpkin it was 11:00pm
The finished face of the pumpkin had a little boy praying for the left eye and a little girl praying for the right eye, both the little boy and girl were each surrounded by a heart. The nose were the firemen putting up the flag at the World Trade Center and the mouth was the word AMERICA shaped to make a smile.
We wanted to tell everyone that had lost so much that they were in our hearts and in our prayers.
I left for New York City on the morning of Oct. 11, 2001 at 3am.
What a drive! The fall colors in the mountains in Pennsylvania were awesome! I have never seen so much beautiful country in one trip, in my life (I kept humming, America the Beautiful the whole way).
30 miles from New York City I was starting to get a little worried I would miss a turn. All of a sudden a voice came on the CB, "Hey Michigan, How much that Pumpkin weigh?" I replied just over 500 pounds." The voice replied, What are you doing with a pumpkin that is 500 pounds that says America on it?
I said this pumpkin is going to the Red Cross Family Assistance Center in New York City. The radio got quite for a minute, the voice then asked, "are you doing it by yourself or do you have someone sponsoring you?" I told the man on the radio, "the trip started as my dream but my boss had helped me make it happen by letting me go home early to carve it and letting me have a few days off to make it happen."
This truck driver, I had never met in my life, helped me for the next 30 miles! He said move over a lane, he said slow down the road is going to get rough for a few miles. It was almost like he was helping me drive my truck. This angel followed me all the way to my exit (the Lincoln Tunnel).
When I left his company he said "Hey Michigan, when you get back home, tell your boss, that New York Says God Bless her for letting you come! I said thank you for getting me there!
I made it to the Red Cross Center with no problem. Once I got there I had to go through an extensive search of my truck. I met some Great people! Several of the Police officers couldn't believe that the pumpkin was real (after a bomb sniffing dog checked it out, I guess they believed me). One of the police officers that had checked my truck told me not to worry, saying, "they did this to everyone!" I told him that I understand. He laughed as he said you should have a license plate that says the Pumpkin Man. I smiled and told him "Thanks I once was that and I guess I am again today!"
While I was waiting to unload the pumpkin, a young New York Police Officers asked me how long it took me to carve the pumpkin, I said about 6 hours, he shook his head in disbelief and said "God Bless you man!" Then he asked me how long it took me to get there, I said about 11 hours, he again said "God Bless you man!" I said, "I thought you guys would be happy." He said you can't even imagine how many kids you are going to make smile." I said, "thanks, that is why I came!"
We were both standing there smiling, then told me that his brother was in one of the towers that went down, I grabbed his shoulder and said "Dear God I am so sorry"(we both looked into each others eyes and I was on the verge of tears!) He told me, "you came so far, I cant believe you care so much." I told him "everyone I know in Michigan and all over the United States cares as much as I do!" He then pointed to all of the police officers from all over the United States that were helping, and started naming all the different states they were from, then he said, "but to have someone come like you did, means you really care!" I replied I have had a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes since this all began, all of you have been in our hearts ever since!"
"People like you are why I came!"
On the twelve hour drive home I had smile on my face and a tear in my eyes thinking about the angels who had forever touched my life.
My only goal in going to New York was to help all the people that lost so much feel a little better.
Thank you American Red Cross for helping me achieve my goal , and thank you NY, NY for having me.
God Bless You Man!
William J. Garvey