Pluggy is a robot that is programmed to teach fire safety to young children. Red Cross takes him to pre-schools, fairs, K-3rd grade classrooms, etc. because young children need to be coached about what to do if a fire breaks out. They are likely victims because they are usually separated from their grown-ups overnight and they hide when they are scared.
Mr. Les was the voice of Pluggy for many years, but he always lamented about the fact that in disaster preparedness you never really knew if you were helping. Every year children still died in fires. Every presentation you still had children not seeming to pay attention and doing their own thing, but Pluggy did save one life and it is an inspiration to me and I hope it is to you. I draw my inspiration for giving of my time and money from this story:
Mr. Les was cleaning up after a parking lot fair one day. As he put Pluggy in the truck of his car, a woman came screaming across the parking lot, 'Wait Mr. Less, Mr. Les!!'
He turned around and said, 'Do I know you?'
She replied, 'I want to tell you how Pluggy saved my life.'
As Les got visions of Pluggy pulling her out of a burning building and shrugged them out with a smile he said, 'You are going to have to explain what you mean.'
She began, 'My son saw your presentation at his preschool last year. He brought home the color book you gave him. He was so excited and I read every page to him. Well, it helped us make an escape plan in the process of working through the color book and we practiced the plan with his older brother so all would know what to do. Two weeks later, we had a bad fire in the house. The plan worked brilliantly. The 3 of us gathered in the front yard under the oak tree - safe.'
I looked down at my son and said, 'You stay here with your older brother. I am going to go fetch some of our stuff.'
He latched on to my leg and said, 'Mommy, Pluggy says don't go!'
I said, 'Yes it is bad for you to go back in, but he does not mean this for grown-ups. I have to go. We are going to lose everything!'
He said with big crocodile tears in his eyes, 'But Pluggy says don't go!'
I finally got him to release his grip and stay with his brother. I got half way up the sidewalk to our house when the roof caved in. If he had not stopped me I would have been inside and both of my young children would have watched me die.
I know our disaster preparedness programs are important and it takes volunteers who give their time to do these lifesaving presentations and it takes donors to help fund these programs with the supplies necessary to make the training stick.
Review from #MyGivingStory