This billboard appeared recently in Flint, Mich, much to the confusion of everyone who drove by it. It was put up by local businessman Phil Shaltz, anonymously, at first; he revealed himself after a sufficient buzz was achieved. Here’s why.
On a recent Alaskan vacation, Shaltz and his wife joined a zip-line tour. Someone in their group asked the otherwise happy-go-lucky 21-year-old guide how things were going, and the tour guide’s cheerful demeanor turned somber. He replied, “I’m concerned about the blueberries.”
What he meant: what would the lack of rain mean for the local blueberry crop? Shaltz admitted that his first impression of the guide’s response was a bit skeptical, assuming that the college student was too young to understand real problems.
But then he realized: “We all go through the day and we see people who have blueberries – their own issues – and we don’t do anything. If we all could understand other people’s blueberries – as minimal as they are – we can have an impact on those things. It’s truly about getting people to not be desensitized to other people’s blueberries, no matter how insignificant we think they may be.”
“Is it your father that needs to be taken to the dialysis center? The sick neighbor that needs to cut his lawn? The elderly person that needs to get across the street? Aren’t everyone’s blueberries tied to helping mankind in some way? Isn’t it all about our responsibility to help others, even if in some small way? It happens every day and most of us don’t even see it.”
Phil’s mission strikes a chord with me. What are the blueberries of the residents of 923 Oak? Are they concerned about similar things?
The residents of 923 Oak are a small sample of America at large. We all have blueberries. It’s my hope that this project can help us understand each other a bit more clearly, and remember that we’re all in this together.
“It’s about doing the little things – the causes we fight about and the doors that we open. It’s about caring for each other and doing a little something, causing an avalanche of good.” – Phil Shaltz
Thanks Phil. And thanks to any of you who help someone out with his or her blueberries.