by Dean Winston Scott, College of Aeronautics
Team Florida Tech has successfully completed the 2011 Fireball Run Adventurally—and what an adventure it was!
The days were long and consisted of non-stop activity. Ms. Jennifer Neuhard, Team Florida Tech’s honorary RIO (Radar Intercept Officer), and I were at the check-in points typically by 8 a.m., at which point we would hear remarks by the director of the Fireball Run, the local mayor and other dignitaries.
After that, we were handed a CD containing our morning missions and it was green flag time. We were almost always provided with a police escort out of each city, but then the hunt was on!
As we drove, we had to simultaneously examine (and solve) our mission clues and plan our route so that we could arrive at specified checkpoints within designated windows of time. The midday checkpoint was called “Passage Control,” and that’s where we had lunch and received an envelope containing our next series of required missions and bonus objectives.
The various clues and riddles we were asked to solve were difficult, but we accomplished most of them thanks to the help of the Florida Tech community—particularly the student groups that volunteered to serve as “Mission Specialists” during the event:
- Theta Omega Gamma (nation’s first online fraternity)
- Florida Tech Pep Band
- Florida Tech Crimson (student newspaper)
- Falcons Flight Team
- Panther Pride (volunteer admissions tour guides)
- Student Government
These organizations monitored our Facebook wall, where we would post our most difficult missions, and helped us Google our way to the correct destinations. The Florida Tech Pep Band went the extra mile and provided us with some inspirational driving music:
It was easy to get caught up in the frenetic fun of the Fireball Run, but three things made it truly worthwhile. We got to explore the often untraveled roads of Southern America and experience our country’s history first-hand.
We had the privilege and honor of meeting hundreds of wonderful people, from our fellow Fireball Run participants (which included entrepreneurs, eccentrics and one of Oprah’s personal physicians) to the schoolchildren who welcomed us in Albertsville, Ala. and Scottsille, Ky., and the fine folks working at the various museums, venues and businesses that served as our checkpoints.
But most important of all was the knowledge that we were helping to spread awareness about missing and exploited children. During the rally, Jennifer and I had the chance to meet with the aunt of Journey and Trust Everitt, who told us that she had recently spoken with their father and had “heard hope in his voice” for the first time in a long time.
That makes us winners as far as I’m concerned.
So, it was a busy eight days (we traveled almost 3500 miles!), but well worth it. While Journey and Trust Everitt remain missing, we have heard word that two other children represented by Fireball Run drivers have recently been recovered as a direct result of this year’s rally. You can’t beat that!