American Legion Post 62’s second vice commander Mike Seitz, at right, and commander Terry “Goose” Watkins, center, fill a bucket with ice and bottled water Wednesday at the CityGo bus transfer station near Seventh and Walnut. At left, with a bottle of cold water in hand, is bus rider Terrance Prude. photo by Tim Unruh/Salina Journal | Buy Journal Photos


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Bucket brigade


8/5/2010
By TIM UNRUH Salina Journal

Terry “Goose” Watkins and friends at American Legion Post 62 could see folks bogging down in blistering heat Tuesday as they waited to board CityGo buses.

An elderly woman struggling to cope with the heat at CityGo’s transfer station near Seventh and Walnut streets — just south of the post at 142 S. Seventh — caught his attention.

Watkins, the American Legion post commander, offered the woman a bottle of cold water.

“She looked thirsty,” Watkins said.

He didn’t stop there.

The Legion commander took a bucket filled with ice and bottled water to the bus stop.

The water was a welcome treat for folks waiting for the buses, standing and sitting on the hot concrete sidewalk at the bus transfer station. Volunteers from the Legion post filled the bucket four times Tuesday.

“It was mighty kind of them,” said Rena Bishop. She drives the CityGo Red route that includes Ohio Street.

“(Riders) were grabbing those waters left and right,” she said. “It was just unbelievable.”

It didn’t take long for the bucket to empty as temperatures Tuesday boiled to 104 degrees — the official peak.

“When I went to lunch at 11 and came back at noon, the bucket was totally full again,” Bishop said.

Let’s help ’em out

Watkins and company noticed the high demand. On Wednesday morning, there were two buckets of cold bottled water for the riders. If more are needed, they will be provided as long as there are Legion volunteers to keep the buckets filled.

“We want to help people out,” Watkins said.

Days of extreme heat can be dangerous, said Mike Seitz, the American Legion post’s vice commander.

“On hot days, it doesn’t take long for someone to get dehydrated,” he said. “You have elderly people out here. They need water. They have to replenish themselves.”

The Legion intends to continue supplying water to the bus stop during this heat wave, Seitz said.

More heat ahead

A 90-degree high is predicted today; 92 is predicted Friday, but the temperature is expected to be back to the upper 90s Saturday and Sunday.

A bottle of water was soothing to Terrance Prude, a bus rider Wednesday who was visiting Salina from Pittsburgh, Pa.

“It’s excellent that they think about people,” he said. “They have compassion.”

n Reporter Tim Unruh can be reached at 822-1419 or by e-mail at [email protected]






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