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Throwback Thursday: Howard County REACT goes to New York

From Labor Day Weekend, September 2004

On a recent vacation, Anna Pelletier (Unit 621) and myself (Unit 687) made the 8 hour drive to Connecticut to see family for Labor Day. On the way we made the typical road trip pit stops and of course, admired the scenery.

Six hours into the trip, we were ready to a make a another pit stop."Ok, we'll stop at the next place we see." I said. Moments later, something on the roadside caught my eye. "Free Coffee Ahead" painted on a wooden sign. This seemed familiar to me. A half mile later another sign... "Free Coffee At Next Rest Area". It sounded an awful lot like a Coffee Break (or Wake Break) that most REACT teams do around the holidays to help motorists stay awake and promote the organization.

Naturally curious, I decided to investigate. Pulling into the rest area, I was searching everywhere. Eventually pulling into a parking spot... a ha... found it! It was indeed a REACT operation. The table, loaded with all kinds of doughnuts, pastries and of course, coffee. I ran up to them and asked in a very stern voice "Who's in charge of this operation?" The people behind the table, stunned as if they were in trouble, replied "Him!" and pointed toward another member over by their communications van which read "Putnam/Dutchess County REACT".

After a few moments of awkward silence between us, I pulled out my REACT ID and showed it to them. Immediately, the stunned silence turned to laughter and they asked where I was from. "Maryland" I replied. I explained to them that I had a gut feeling the Wake Break was a REACT operation and I had to check it out.

Moments later, we were given the full tour of the Comms van, a look through their photo albums, and story sharing. We even heard stories of how the team assisted with recovery operations after the 9/11 attacks and how much of an honor it was to be a part of it. After 45 minutes of story sharing and helpful exchanges of advise, we had to be one our way.

But not before we snapped a couple of group shots. What a great wake break. That alone gave us a enough energy to make it the rest of the way to Connecticut!

A big thanks to our new friends Warren Dietz, Barbara Dietz, of Putnam/Dutchess REACT for their hospitality!

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