By Kim Strom
ESCANABA - As a rather unorthodox way to celebrate its fifth anniversary, a local church decided to give something back to the community - cheap gas. People came out in droves to take advantage of the rare opportunity.
From 6-7 p.m. Thursday, eleven members of Silver Winds Church in Escanaba filled tank after tank of regular unleaded gas for $1.99 per gallon from JB's Convenience Corners on Danforth Road in Escanaba.
"We're paying 25 cents on each gallon just to say thanks to the community," said Lisa Radlicki. Her husband, Art, is the pastor of Silver Winds. JB's co-owner Jim Beauchamp came down 4 cents on the gallon from
$2.29 to help the church meet its goal of offering the fuel for under $2.00.
"I think it's very good what they're doing for the community," Beauchamp said, adding the promotion was very good for him, too. Radlicki guessed almost two hundred people participated in the unique offer.
Customers Tom and Piper Desy of Escanaba filled three of their vehicles. They heard about the event on a local radio station at about 5:30 p.m.
Gary Erickson from Marquette had no idea why the gas was so cheap. That didn't matter. He was able to completely fill his half-ton pick for about $45.00. "I never fill it up," he said. "It costs too much."
Another woman was so impressed with the church's gesture, she likened it to a "pay it forward" kind of story.
A woman got gas and didn't know how she was going to go into the station and pay for it, because there was so many cars in the parking lot coming and going, and she had two very small children in the car, said Joy Williams of Escanaba. Williams' son, Adam, 12, offered to watch the children. "This woman trusted complete strangers," she said.
The customer offered the boy $5 for the favor. "My son refused," Williams said. It's like, one act of kindness spurred many others, she said.
At 7:00 p.m., J.B.'s gas prices rolled back to their original price of $2.29 per gallon.