City of Franklin embraces its own; comes together when neededPublished 10:40am Wednesday, April 30, 2014
As I ride the bus home from St. Louis with Franklin’s Robotics Team 1610, I cannot help but think back over the past few weeks and how much the team has been embraced by this community. Upon hearing the news of the team’s eligibility to the World Robotics Championship, this community opened their arms in helping Team 1610 make it to St. Louis. Many wrote checks and sent or gave them to us and multiple others supported the team’s effort by coming to one of the team’s fundraisers at the Franklin Dairy Queen, the car wash at Advance Auto or Fred’s Restaurant where the team waited tables. This town, in an extremely short period of time, helped Team 1610 get to St. Louis.
Five hours before we were set to leave Tuesday evening, I received a phone call from the bus company telling me they had a mechanical problem with their bus and would be unable to take the team to St. Louis. With just a few phone calls, this town, again, went to task to help us find a way to get to St. Louis. The mayor, Raystine Johnson-Ashburn, Gaynelle Riddick of Royal Tours, Ricky Blunt, former owner of Franklin Bus Service, as well as many others in Franklin and beyond, did all they could to find some way to get us out west. It was truly amazing to see the passion with which this community banded together to help. Unfortunately, there just was not a bus available in the state of Virginia or any other states nearby for this trip. However, due to the credo of our competition, “gracious professionalism,” a team in Newport News had the exact number of seats we needed, heard we were in trouble, and, one hour before they were pulling out, offered for us to ride along with them.
Our competition is a wonderful experience for the team, and one they will never forget. However, the greatest gift these students were given was to have been part of and to have seen what a special place this City of Franklin truly is. And, as this community has shown countless times, Franklin embraces its own and comes together when needed and not just for Robotics. And that is truly the best gift our students could receive.
From Team 1610 to everyone, we sincerely thank you for the greatest gift of all – a caring community!
Liz Burgess, Coach
FHS Robotics Team 1610