Will Jacoby had been plowing snow out of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Grimes garage for eight days in a row. “I got off work and went to bed. I woke up about the time the 6 o’clock news was on,” he said. “It had been a long week or so with snow and ice every day and I was tired. Then on the news, there was this story about a young man with a plow on his wheelchair. He was just so happy to be out plowing his neighbor’s sidewalks and driveways, even all those days in a row.”
The story gave Jacoby an idea. What if he could get this young man, Mason Rumpf, to come to the garage for a tour and maybe even a ride in one of our snowplows. He took the idea to management who also agreed.
Grimes Garage Supervisor Jim Scott got Rumpf’s parent’s contact information from the television station that aired the story Jacoby saw. He said, “I had a conversation with Mason's mom and she was elated at the invitation.”
On the day of Rumpf’s visit, his parents, Patti and Dave Anderson, and his caregiver, Adam Whitney, arrived at the shop at 6:45 a.m. It was a bit of a snowy morning as the day crew in Grimes gathered for their morning meeting before heading out on the road.
At 7 a.m. on the dot, Scott started the meeting. After a few minutes of updates, the main topic of the day turned to honoring Rumpf. After thanking the employees for their hard work, Scott said, “We have met our match, folks. Mason has a passion for snow removal and being productive to serve his family and neighbors and give back to the community despite his physical challenges. He is truly a snow fighting hero.”
Scott then presented Rumpf with a certificate naming him an “Honorary Iowa DOT Snowfighter.” Howe also presented Rumpf with a hat and patch from snowfighter school.
Then it was off for a ride in a special Iowa DOT snowplow. The “school bus” as Howe referred to it, is a snowplow truck with a crew cab able to seat five people. With Jacoby in the driver’s seat and Rumpf riding shotgun, Rumpf's parents fastened their seat belts in the back seat to watch their son live out one of his dreams.
Jacoby took his usual run up Interstate 35/80. Rumpf's ear-to-ear smile and giggles along the way were infectious while his parents asked thoughtful questions and took lots of photos and video.
Once the run was over, it was time to bid Rumpf farewell for now, but plans are underway to have him come back out to the garage and sit in the snow plow simulator so he can “drive” one of the plows himself.
The joy on Rumpf's face was clear. Thinking back on the day Jacoby said, “Mason brought as much joy to us as we did to him.”