VANDALIA – Greenville’s Dairy King owners Dave McCartney, John Buamgardner and Dave Bush made it possible for Greenville students to be at the Green Wave’s final road football game of the 2019 season to attend the game played in Vandalia on Oct. 25.
“We were at an away game and my wife said, ‘we don’t have any student body here’,” McCartney said. “She said let’s call the school and see what it would cost to rent a school bus and bring some kids down here.”
McCartney made a phone call to Greenville athletic director, Aaron Shaffer inquiring about the possibility of putting together a Spirit Bus for the Friday night football game at Vandalia-Butler.
“Dave wanted kids to have the opportunity to come down to the game,” said Shaffer. “We started working through the idea and talking it over. It’s some scheduling and making sure we have a driver and chaperones and ultimately our chaperone became high school principal Mr. (Stan) Hughes.”
To make the Spirit Bus even better, Dairy King offered $250 to cover up to 50 students with presale tickets to the game.
On Monday morning, wheels were put in motion with organizing including transportation, getting information out to the student body, parental consent and signatures as with any school field trip.
“The students came in and signed up,” Shaffer noted. “When they got their parent permission slip turned we gave them a bus ticket and when they showed up for the bus we gave them a game ticket.”
Greenville High School principal Hughes volunteered to chaperone the Spirit Bus, riding to and from the Friday night MVL matchup, a game the Green Wave would win 17-13.
“The kids were really great,” Hughes stated. “They were fun, they were singing songs, just ready to come down and have a good time.”
“Whatever it takes to get kids involved not only in athletics, but any of or extracurricular activities,” added Hughes. “It is one of those things where we know that getting kids involved in things makes our school better, makes kids better and give them a better chance at success and being a good citizen.”
As the week went on and interest continued, Dave McCartney and has partners had one more incentive up their sleeves.
“I texted Coach Shaffer and said let’s kick it up a notch,” noted McCartney. “The Dairy King will give two random students on the bus each a $50 gift certificate to the Dairy King.”
“We just think it is really important for our community, the Dairy King to be involved with the youth and the sports at Greenville City Schools,” McCartney added. “We really feel like a student body presence at an away football game is a huge boost for your football team.”
“It’s an opportunity for our kids to come out and be students in a student section, watch a game and cheer it on,” said Shaffer. “It provides them with an experience outside of Greenville that gets them active and involved, in this case with our athletics.”
The Spirit Bus is just one of many examples of the Dairy King’s involvement in the community. The locally owned business also donated 1,000 sundaes to a reading program as well as a good behavior program.
Greenville, a community that is well known for community and business support, which does not go unnoticed.
“We are so fortunate,” Hughes said. “I don’t know how many times I can say this and people have to understand that the commitment from the community in Greenville is unbelievable. We are thankful every day that we can have people in the community supporting our school system, supporting our students in every single way.”
“Thank you to those community members who are making it possible for these kids to be down here (GHS at Butler football game),” concluded Hughes, “otherwise we wouldn’t have 38 students here tonight.”
Each student was handed a free ice cream treat when the Spirit Bus arrived back at Greenville High School following the Friday night Green Wave win over Butler.