On the St. Louis Tour (from left): Philip Carney; Nate and Sam Scheidler, Maria, Killian, Aidan and Liam Beyers; and Elizabeth Daub [Photo by EJS]
At the end of August, I drove down to St. Louis with my sons Nate and Sam to help run the first-ever Face the Truth Tour in the Gateway City. The Tour was organized by Elizabeth Daub, who was inspired to conduct a Tour when Joe Scheidler called on St. Louisans to bring the Tour to their city during a talk there in summer 2004. Over the course of several months I consulted with Elizabeth on matters such as choosing sites, recruiting volunteers and dealing with police.
Our work in St. Louis began the evening of Friday, August 26 with a strategy meeting of local activists, including veteran activist Mary Maschmeier. While I worked with the local group to put the final touches on our plans for the Tour the next morning, Nate and Sam played with the Maschmeier children, including twins rescued from abortion and adopted by Mary.
Tour Gets Off to Great Start
Saturday morning the boys and I caught a quick breakfast at Waffle House, a favorite from my days as a poor graduate student, and drove out to meet the Tour group at the morning site at Forest Park Avenue and Kingshighway Boulevard. Some two dozen local activists joined us, including our talented videographer Don Carney and his family and several League supporters from the area.
The challenges of managing a Tour site single-handedly with volunteers on their first Tour renewed my appreciation for our experienced Chicago activists as well as my Tour “lieutenant” John Jansen. John had originally planned to join me, but could not because his wife Jocelyn began to show signs of premature labor—fortunately a false alarm (see story). Nevertheless, the first site of the Tour went well.
Our midday site was at Clayton and Ballas Roads, where our group was bolstered by a large contingent of Elizabeth’s extended family, including her mother, who had only recently been in a car crash but wouldn’t think of missing St. Louis’ first Face the Truth Tour. At the same corner, students from two different high schools—one public, one Catholic—were holding car washes to raise money. The latter group welcomed our presence and were more modest and polite than their public school counterparts; I gave them a donation and had them wash my van before we left the location.
Young Nate Steps Up
After lunch with the Daub clan, the Tour group split in two, with half holdling signs at Ballas and Manchester Roads across the street from a busy mall, while the other half, under the direction of Mary Maschmeier, held signs farther south on Ballas near the home of an abortionist. This was our busiest intersection so far, and I found it impossible to manage the site alone, so I had to deputize Nate to position groups of volunteers as they arrived at the site. Though only thirteen, Nate proved to be an excellent Tour coordinator.
After the last site the boys and I drove home to Aurora, IL exhausted but deeply gratified by the inaugural St. Louis Tour. Back home, activists from Granite City and Quincy, IL who had joined the Tour wrote to say they’d like to conduct Tours in their own towns. We’re eager to help them.