Maisie DeVore had a vision. She wanted to build a community pool for children to enjoy. She was worried that there weren’t enough positive and healthy activities for kids in her hometown of Eskridge, Kansas, and she felt that the pool was just the thing they needed.
But she had a problem. Money. Maisie decided the best way to earn the money was by collecting aluminum cans and turning them in for recycling. She began searching for them all around town – in trash cans, behind bushes, along roadsides. When that didn’t net enough cash, she began collecting scrap metal, then making and raffling quilts, then picking wild berries to sell as homemade jellies.
Her neighbors thought she was crazy. “Hide the toaster! Maisie’s looking for scrap metal again.”
Her family thought she was crazy. Said one, “I never came right out and told her I thought she was nuts, but I said, ‘You know Maisie, are you gonna be okay with this if it doesn’t happen?’”
In truth, no one but Maisie thought she would ever see ground broken on the pool. But that was all the belief she needed. She collected cans, scrap metal and berries until she had earned $100,000 ($83,000 from the 90 tons of aluminum cans she found). When the state of Kansas got wind of what she had done, they kicked in a grant of $73,000 to make up the difference. It wasn’t long before the pool was going in right across the street from Maisie’s home.
As you may have guessed, Maisie didn’t raise that much money overnight. It took her 30 years! During that time, Maisie kept her focus on her ultimate goal. She withstood the teasing and the gossip and put in the incredibly hard work required to see it through. Now, her neighbors don’t call her “Crazy Maisie” anymore. As dozens of kids enjoy playing in “Maisie’s Community Pool” each day, all the neighbors call her “Amazing Maisie!”
(S – “Making a Splash,” CBSNews.com, 7/14/02)