As Day Out With Thomas 2014 is just over the horizon, I feel it is an honor to republish the blog entry I made over at my other blog, the Edward Ringwald Blog, when I volunteered for Day Out With Thomas in 2013. I was just a couple of months into being a member at the Florida Railroad Museum and working Day Out With Thomas 2013 was my first ever volunteer activity with the museum. So, without much further ado, here is my blog entry from my experience with a Day Out With Thomas which transpired over two weekends in March 2013.
NOTE: This is an edited version of the blog entry as I edited and updated the links as needed.
Recently the Florida Railroad Museum proudly hosted a Day Out With Thomas for two weekends in March 2013. As a proud member of the Florida Railroad Museum, I volunteered for the event over the two weekends performing a number of duties ranging from crowd control to checking tickets and issuing wristbands for the many people that attended.
After all, membership in the Florida Railroad Museum has a lot of benefits. The one major benefit, free train rides on regular ride weekends, is an excellent justification for me to go out and about rather than spend all day at home and sitting on the couch or comfy chair watching TV or YouTube.
After all, volunteers are the lifeblood of the Florida Railroad Museum. When there is a special event taking place such as a Day Out With Thomas, the museum does everything it can do to recruit volunteers from all walks of life, including this experienced Interstate 275 Florida roadgeek and railfan in training.
In fact, the museum gave us volunteers a free train ride on the last train of the day as a token of appreciation for our hard working and dedicated service over the two weekends the event was held. While on the train, which was a ride to just south of Dickey Road in Manatee County and back to Parrish, I happened to enjoy the continuous Thomas and Friends music including the main Thomas theme; right after I disembarked from the train I went to the gift shop and bought me a CD called Thomas and Friends All Star Tracks; I was enjoying some Thomas tunes including Go Go Thomas, Roll Call (which is also the main Thomas theme), Misty Island Rescue, What Makes An Engine Happy and the others that were on the CD for the ride on northbound Interstate 75 through Tampa and back to Interstate 275 and St. Petersburg.
While I was in the gift shop, I noticed that the other Thomas and Friends CDs (not the one I bought) were on the Koch International label. This rang a bell: I have a 2 CD Avsenik Ensemble album on the same Koch International label in my increasingly expanding Slovene music collection.
Have you also visited my railroad museums page over at my website? You ought to come by and check it out!
For more information on the Florida Railroad Museum, head on over to their website. There you can get the latest information on the regular train rides plus the themed train rides that are scheduled throughout the year, including the annual Day Out With Thomas event.
What I enjoyed very much is the smiles I have seen on the children when they enter the event, especially when I hand them a map that features Thomas prominently in the center. Believe me, it was the best two weekends in March 2013 that I will remember.
Since I volunteered for Day Out With Thomas 2013, I continued to take many more train rides using my free train ride on regular ride days benefit. As I was riding the train, the conductors and train crew started to know that I was a member but I had a few other things going on at the same time.
Fast forward to September 2013 and a few weeks after Labor Day weekend. I took yet another ride using my free ride benefit as a member. I was so convinced that I decided to make the decision that would redefine my weekend activities: Become a volunteer on the train crew! So, I gave my business card to the conductor who was after me to get on the train crew and, within a couple of days, I got an email explaining how to sign up. I still remember the day when I got my first email telling me to report to Willow at 8 AM on a Sunday morning to receive my first crew assignment. I was so excited!
And the rest is history.