Thursday at six in the morning, Bowling Green D93 Radio personality and Logan County native Tony Rose will embark on a four-day, 100 hour odyssey.
For the tenth year in a row, Rose will reside in a school bus parked in front of Bluegrass Cellular on Campbell Lane in Bowling Green and accept donations of school supplies for distribution to families that need supplies for their children.
The event grows in popularity and in measured success each year. Rose believes success this year will be measured in double-digit tons of paper, pencils, backpacks, crayons, craft scissors, construction paper, and virtually any supply that any teacher can envision their students needing for the upcoming school year.
What a difference ten years makes
When Rose began this project ten years ago, things were much simpler than today.
His career in broadcasting, though securely past its infancy, was yet to mature into what it is today; a vehicle for Rose to serve the community that continues to be inspirational and supportive of him.
Ten years ago he and his wife Shelli were laying the foundation for a family; this year their two year old daughter will pay her second visit to the Stuff the Bus to visit her dad and bring a cool drink of water.
In years past, viewers had grown accustomed to looking for Stuff the Bus promotions with partner/TV station WBKO 13. Each year the spots would grow into more elaborate spoofs of pop culture. This year the WBKO gang are absent from the Stuff the Bus festivities. We can catch a parody or two starring Gene Birk and the gang, however, as this is the kick-off year of O.S.S. (Operation School Supplies). O.S.S. is smaller-scaled and does not include Logan County like Stuff the Bus does, but Rose takes the potential competitor’s efforts with his typical good nature. He doesn’t see these and other efforts as any threat to Stuff the Bus and its mission. “More events mean more supplies for the kids,” he says. “That’s the bottom line.”
This almost makes going back to school fun, doesn’t it?
Rose made the change from his long-running and popular show on 100.7 FM to FM D93 some months back. Fortunately, his fan base, reputation, and quality of work made the move with him. Thursday will be the first time the Tony Rose Morning Show will be broadcast from “the bus” over the airways of FM station D93.
This will be the first year that WKNY CBS/NBC Channel 40 has partnered with the Stuff the Bus. “The ‘new kids on the block,’” he grinned as he referred to the Channel 40 group, “has really jumped into this—right away they were all about ‘what can we do to help?’ and ‘where do you need us?’” he said. And the parodies return on WNKY 40 with a Yellowberri production of a spot featuring an action star Rose commandeering a bus in a futuristic Mad-Max-starved-of-school-supplies world. Mel Gibson, beware.
Local collections are doubled
Right away on Thursday morning, donations will begin arriving at the Bus. Actually, Rose and his crew have been accepting donations all year. Volunteers are always on the lookout for a great deal on school supplies that can be stored until the Stuff the Bus event begins. The percentage of supplies purchased this way is small compared to the overall amount of supplies that will be donated in the weeks leading up to Stuff the Bus.
Stuff the Bus has partnerships with businesses and service outlets in ten surrounding counties. Rose is quick to point out that items collected at a local retail, event or collection box will be matched in amount. For instance, every notebook collected at the Bluegrass Cellular store in Russellville will be become two notebooks for Logan County students. “That’s the same for all supplies collected at sites in the counties,” said Rose. “Fifty pencils become 100 pencils, 30 scissors, 60 scissors—everything is doubled.” He explained.
Donations in money are used 100% to purchase supplies to return to the donation’s home county. For several years now the Stuff the Bus crew has used local online savings groups as volunteer shoppers for supplies. One such group is the Kentucky Savings Group. “These guys can go out and find the best possible deals. They know how to wheel-and-deal and can sometimes squeeze five dollars’ worth of stuff from one dollar,” he said. “They’re amazing!”
Don’t wear sunglasses
Rose and his crew drove and set up in Scottsville for one afternoon, Glasgow the next, then the next town the next day, etc., through all the area counties involved in Stuff the Bus.
Rose is clearly passionate about the Stuff the Bus event and his personal investment in it. “I tell the folks volunteering with me to never wear sunglasses,” he said. “Let them see your eyes—that you care. I think it’s important to anybody to know that you care.”
Before boarding the Bus on Thursday morning, Rose and his gang will have finished a month of on-location promotions and meet-and-greets. “We tell each other it’s like being on tour,” he said.
Stuff the Bus Eve
On Wednesday, Rose, in addition to his regular Morning Show, and the volunteers for the 2015 Stuff the Bus busied themselves with final preparations for the event. Rose hopes to make some time to rest a bit at home and spend some time with his wife and daughter.
“On Thursday about five o’clock in the morning, I’ll get to the bus,” he said. He won’t leave the bus and the immediate area it is parked in until Monday mid-morning.
Live from the 2015 Stuff the Bus
Tony Rose will broadcast his morning show from the Bus. He has a list of guests that include the Bowling Green Mayor and other dignitaries, WKU Lady Topper sports teams, and celebrities from all around the area.
“We’re open 24-7,” said Rose. As persons arrive with their individual donations, shipments of supplies collected from the ten-county area and donations from businesses and groups will be arriving, too. All will be asked to sign an autograph board.
“The kid that visits the Bus with a parent to donate a notebook and box of crayons are just as important as any other.” Rose said.
For more information, you can visit the Stuff the Bus official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stuffthebus10 or you can email Tony Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org