Roadblocks raise big bucks for Make a Wish

REGION 8 (KAIT) --A lot of money is raised from the "Have a Heart" roadblocks scattered across Region Eight.

If I still had my hat on I would tip it to those brave souls who stood out in the snow, sleet, rain and cold on Friday collecting money for these very deserving Make a Wish kids.

17 year old Wish child Ariel Dooley was with her mom Leticia and brother Evan as part of the roadblock crew in Rector. She received her wish in 2009.

Dooley, "I think that all the kids should have at least, maybe one chance to experience the stuff that I did."

Her mom Leticia organized the Rector road block that raised over 2600 this year.

Dooley, "We asked last year to be a part and get the whole town of Rector involved."

Ariel went to Disney World for her wish. The money collected Friday will make it possible for other kids to take trips like that.

The weather wasn't that great but Kendra Street in Paragould said her volunteers say, "eh, what's a bit of snow?"

Street, "They don't care a bit , our donations are still coming in as good as ever, can't complain."

It was a good day to be in Paragould. Street disagreed with me. "Uh, no. It's going to be a great day to be in Paragould!"

Down the road in Walnut Ridge and Hoxie, Arkansas Excellent Transport and other emergency type folks were manning the buckets..and a gorilla.

Well not a real gorilla. Phillip Baiza in a gorilla suit. Baiza too has a child that was a wish recipient.

We stood out on the main street in the rain as traffic rolled by staring at the ape and occasionally stopping to make donations.

Baiza, "People come back and take picture for their phones, ask me what am I doing out here who is it for. I give them the whole spiel about Make a Wish and the Have a Heart Wish a Thon and they intend to give more after that."

Over in Bono Adam Lowery was joined by city and state police officers, Representative Butch Wilkins and fellow National Honor Society students from Westside.

Westside High School made some significant donations to Make a Wish.

Lowery, "Student council program has sold the hearts and stars. Yesterday we collected money at the drop-off zones and today we're doing this roadblock here in Bono so we're really doing our best to raise money for Make-a-Wish."

In Cash, the intersection of Highway 226 and 18 was hopping as cars stopped for the lights and signs and dropped cash in the buckets. One volunteer was surprised when a car pulled up and emptied an ash tray full of change into his bucket.

My final stop of the tour was in Weiner. Members of the volunteer fire department were out along the highway. No intersection there.

Organizer Tyler Sitzer pondered on my idea for spike strips but says most of their donations come from local people and an occasional person passing by on the highway.

Sitzer, "I said on the radio a while ago. If everybody would just roll the window down and throw it out the window, we'll pick it up."

Tyler echoed the sentiments of everybody I visited with today.

Sitzer, "Couple of wishes been granted to children, it's worth it. That's all you can say about it."

Between the road blocks and donations that were made and called in there was over $230,000 dollars raised. And that is a lot of wishes.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.