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April 2024

A 2024 Total Eclipse Story – Through the eyes of the Power of Work

By Uncategorized

On April 8, 2024 I was able to spend some time at the ODOT Wood County rest area, south of Bowling Green, OH. Goodwill provides janitorial services to this site and in preparation for the total solar eclipse event, I made myself available to assist the crew.  

A couple of months ahead of this event, ODOT requested that we prepare ourselves with additional staff and supplies.  We complied and it went off without any issues.

The caravan of “eclipse seekers” started to arrive around 11:00 am with a non-stop flow of traffic.  As the time got closer to the eclipse, the parking lot was packed, travelers set up chairs on the grass areas, parked in the truckers’ lots, etc.  There was a powerful feeling that something big was about to happen.

With all the extra traffic, we as crew members, had to carry out our duties with the facilities, making sure the restrooms were cleaned, paper products stocked, etc.  The crew kept commenting how busy the place was and they had never seen something like this before.

Managing the women’s restrooms was a challenge, especially when the line started forming inside and around the outside of the building. The travelers were patient and understood we were there to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible.  At one point, we decided to close off part of the men’s restroom and re-routed the women to use one side as overflow and everyone was so grateful!

Once the time for the eclipse approached and everyone was jogging for a place to view the event, we had a break to get all the stalls serviced and paper products refilled; it was a rush like we had never seen before.

When the eclipse started, everyone got in place and marveled at what they were experiencing.  Once totality took place, there was a thunderous, simultaneous applause throughout the rest area.  Once the brightness of the sun came back, the same joyful sound took place.  Everyone knew they were experiencing something special and a once in a lifetime event.

The crew and I were outside watching as people were packing up, getting ready to head home and we all commented of what we had just seen and experienced. It was amazing!

One dad and his two young daughters traveled from Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada to witness the eclipse. He approached us and said to his little ones “Go ahead, tell them.”  The two girls looked at us and with shy faces said “Thank you for everything” and smiled as they handed each of us a pin with their city logo displayed.  It was a precious moment that made us realize the reason why we were there and that made us all proud of the service we had provided.

-Written by Alan Olin, Custodial Contracts Account Manager; Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Inc.

I 75 Rest Area
Travelers stop at the I75 Rest Area near Bowling Green, OH to watch the Eclipse