Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 30, 2014

Mark Maynard: Trip of a lifetime for safety patrol: 5/2/14

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — No matter how many times the trip is made, the Ashland School Safety Patrol adventure carries some amazing memories.

This year it was the rain.

Loading up in a downpour, we left the Ashland Town Center parking lot on Wednesday morning as parents with long faces waved goodbye for a few days to their children. For some of them, it will be the first time on an extended trip without Mom and Dad.

Don’t worry; they’re in good hands.

The nearly 200 children who make this annual trek are probably safer than they are in their own homes if the truth be known.

Each bus has Ashland Police Department officers and many Mother Hens (some Father Hens, too). This will be one of those lifetime adventures that make unforgettable memories.

Parents who went on the trip when they were in fifth or sixth grade are now seeing their own children take part in this Ashland tradition. It’s been going on for 48 years.

I’ve been blessed to ride along as a chaperone for several trips as a chaperone for Rose Hill Christian School, where my wife teaches and directs the safety patrol. It’s good to get away from the grind for a few days even if it means four mostly nonstop days in Washington, D.C.

We’ve made many new friends and been reacquainted with some old ones on these journeys with some of Ashland and Lawrence County’s best teachers. We’ve traveled with them all at one time or another. The faces hardly change from year to year, which tells you this is a gig nobody wants to give up.

This year we are on a bus with friends from Oakview and Charles Russell. We all get to know each other pretty well by the trip’s end. I know it will fly by because it always does. By the time you read this we will be well into our second day of touring.

Even with the rain like we had on Wednesday, nothing dampens the spirits of this band of travelers. The show must go on, as they say, and it does.

APD Maj. Mark McDowell deserves much credit for his organizational skills that makes the trip a well-planned event and enjoyable for everybody. He’s ready for anything and we look to him for the tough decisions.

Your children will learn about Washington, D.C., on this trip of a lifetime. But more importantly, they will also grow up a little right before your eyes.

My advice to you? Enjoy the quiet around the house because we’re turning them back over to you early Sunday.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.