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A sign of gratitude

Cabot ‘Sign Guy’ spreads his positive message

By Emily Van Zandt

This article was originally published November 15, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. Updated November 14, 2012 at 9:09 a.m.

joe-sachs-makes-a-habit-of-standing-outside-the-main-gate-to-little-rock-air-force-base-with-a-sign-thanking-soldiers-for-serving-the-country

Joe Sachs makes a habit of standing outside the main gate to Little Rock Air Force Base with a sign thanking soldiers for serving the country.

— Joe Sachs spends many evenings standing on the side of the road.

He’s not looking for spare change, and he’s not selling anything. He’s just trying to say “thank you.”

For the past month, the Cabot resident has spent around two evenings a week at the corner of Vandenberg Boulevard and Marshall Road in Jacksonville, right by the entrance to Little Rock Air Force Base.

You can’t miss him. He’s the guy holding up the erasable white board. The words on his sign may be light, but you can still read them: “Thanks 4 Serving LRAFB.”

The thankful hobby was inspired by all the political signs Sachs was seeing along the streets.

“All the signs that I see are usually people wanting a vote or money or wanting something,” Sachs said. “I just wanted to give back.”

Sachs, a school-bus driver by day, lives with his wife and stepchildren about a 20-minute drive from Jacksonville. Though he can most often be found holding the sign near LRAFB, he’s been known to make signs that honor teachers and firefighters as well, standing near schools and firehouses in Cabot.

“Something that is really important to me is honoring people who put their life on the line, or they do something that is really heartfelt,” Sachs said. “I don’t believe teachers get the credit they deserve.”

Sachs credits James Bennett, pastor at the New Life Church on 10th Street in Cabot, for inspiring him to be more bold with his thanks. Though Sachs was at first nervous about what kind of reaction he might get from passersby, he said the response has been all positive.

“Sometimes people think I’m trying to sell something, and they don’t want to look at me, but when they do, they’re like. ‘Wow, that’s not what I thought he was doing,’” Sachs said.

Though some drivers try to offer him money or a ride, many drivers honk, wave or salute as they pass the man with the sign. Some even pull over to ask about what he’s doing and thank him for standing out there.

“The response has been awesome,” Sachs said. “It’s been completely amazing and overwhelming. I would like to keep going around spreading a good message because we live in such a negative world.”

Lt. Mallory Glass, 19th Airlift Wing chief of public affairs, said her department starting getting emails about Sachs right away.

“People have been on our Facebook page asking. ‘Who is that?,’” Glass said. “They ask, ‘Is it OK for him to be out there?’ Yes, thank you, it’s their First Amendment right, and we’re thankful he’s exercising it to thank us.”

Glass said the support the men and women who work at LRAFB get from the central Arkansas area is “phenomenal.”

“We appreciate [Sachs’] time,” Glass said. “It’s so gratifying to drive out the gate and see that.”

After his first day standing in front of the base, Sachs’ wife noticed people talking about him online, so she started a “Cabot Sign Guy” page on Facebook so people can keep up with what’s he’s doing. Sachs plans to keep up with his thanks-giving through the winter but will likely take a break in the summer when it gets too hot. Sachs hopes his actions inspire others in the area to perform similar acts and is even considering improving his sign.

“I would love to upgrade my sign so people can read it more easily,” Sachs said, “maybe some kind of LED sign where I could even hold it up at night.”

Zoned editions staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

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