Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hey Everybody!!! SOOOOO sorry for the long absence! We have had issues signing in with our e-mail to update the Blog. Anyways, for any body who might be confused, YES! WE ARE STILL DOING THE TRAIN RIDE!!!!! We are just 2 weeks away from our 9th spectacular year of fun filled memories. This year, we fell a little short, but we were still able to purchase 100 tickets to take families on the A&A. However, this year is going to be a little different. Mom and I will be heading off to Maryland to present out project at Kids Are Heroes day, and we will be leaving the project to the trusted volunteers of Pioneer Pro. For those of you not familiar with Pioneer Pro, they are a volunteer group out of Pioneer, who has been helping us coordinate and run our project when the big day comes for the past 6 years. Without them, I can GUARANTEE the project would not be the success that it is every year. I will keep everybody posted as the day comes closer! ALL ABOARD!!!! JT

Saturday, June 25, 2011

4th of July Can Drive

Hey everybody, its JT! We are putting our summer plans into operation with our annual 4th of July can drive at Cuba Lake, North Shore cottage 363. Please come out and help support us by donating cans or other returnables! If you would like to help volunteer, that would be greatly appreciated, and please e-mail us to let us know if you want to help. The can drive will be held July 3rd and 4th, between 7:00am and 6:00pm, and we hope to see you there! Just look for the big crown-Y truck! If you need directions to donate or volunteer, please e-mail and ask us. Thanks, and ALL ABOARD!!!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Go Green this Earth Day

Hey everybody! The make a Difference Day Express crew is gearing up for Earth Day! We want to make this year green, and we are encouraging all our followers to start recycling, and do something in your town this Earth Day! Stay tuned for updates on what we are planning. Also, because of our lack of our project being in the media and advertised to the public last year, people are wondering if we are still chugging along with the project. our answer is YES!!!! We are still doing our project, and flyers will soon be around the community letting everyone know, and asking to please always recycle, and please donate to our project. Just remember, a pop can could save a polar bear! (or a penguin) ;) All aboard!!!!!! -JT

Saturday, February 12, 2011

K.A.H. Radio interview

Hello everybody! How is everyone? We havent been very active with our project lately because of the weather, but we've got big plans for this year in the making. Recently, our project was featured on a radio interview put on by our friends at kids are heroes. We will be posting a link as soon as it becomes available for those who want to listen to it. For more information about kids are heroes visit their site at and read about a wonderful little girl named Mary Margaret and her great dad Gabe. We hope all is well and you are all keeping warm in the recent and upcoming snowstorms! ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Extreme Makeover in BUFFALO!!!!!! AWESOME!!!!

Hey everybody!!!!! Extreme Makeover is in Buffalo this week and mom is going to vollunteer tonight while I stay home and get my sleep. I would go and vollunteer so I could see Ty again, because he's awesome, but i gotta stay home and sleep and so I dont get sick. ;) Instead I'm staying the night at grandma's, but that's not so bad. At least she's got Direct TV! Ha ha ha!!! Well, gotta go, the left over roast beef is calling my name!!!! :) -JT

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shout Out - Our Unsung Hero - Joshua

This young man deserves the loudest shout out possible! Some of you may know him as Joshua but to us, he is our buddy Josh and the biggest unsung hero of the project! Josh was five years old when he first asked JT if he could help with the project after reading about it in the local newspaper. This year was Josh's third year helping and boy has he set the bar pretty high for other kids!! Josh does a can drive on his street by himself for the whole month of September. He designs flyers announcing the can drive, goes door to door and speaks personally to all his neighbors about the project and what he wants to accomplish that year. Josh sets up a collection can on his front sidewalk so people can just drop off returnables. Then he sorts and bags them as the can gets full. If someone on his street can not drop off, Josh takes his little red wagon and collects the returnables. To some of you this might not seem like much. Let me put this is a better perspective. Josh is only 8. He does the collecting all on his own because he wants to help. He receives (in our eyes) very little recognition for all his hard work. He does not just stop collecting after the month of September, he collects all winter long and stores the returnables in his parents garage. Josh wants to help! He loves to see the kids smiling and laughing as much as we do. JT and I are always in awe of Josh and his unselfishness. What is so amazing to us, Josh is still Josh. He could have very well walked away from the project with all the media attention being focused on the Extreme Train Makeover and JT. But he did not. Josh has hung right in there. So this shout out goes to the greatest kid and bestes buddy we could ever ask for... Joshua Tsujimoto! You are awesome and you continue to inspire those around you. Thank you Joshua for helping us, your neighbors, your community, your church and total strangers to continue to dream, inspire and believe! May the force be with you and rock on, dude! YOU ROCK!!
We are forever gratefull.... All Aboard!! Jon Thomas and Monica

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Passing of a Legend...Paul Newman

Why the title? What does Paul Newman have to with trains and JT? For those of you who are new to the blog, the project was chosen to be 2007 Make A Difference Day National Honoree. This distinguished title also includes a $10,000 grant from Newman's Own. It was Paul Newman's Company that actually funded all those youth projects through the Make A Difference Day mini - grants. 34 youth projects in two counties were made possible. Today and the next several days, JT and I would like to ask you to please reach out to the Newman family and to Newman's Own company. Take a few minutes from your busy lives and say a prayer. It is people like Mr. Newman wh0 reached out to millions of families and children throughout the years. Whether it was through the Hole in Wall Gang camps or through generous grants to kids like JT, his actions spoke volumes. To JT and I, the grant enabled us and the "Crew" to reach out to kids in communities throughout the Southern Tier; to say to kids everywhere, we believe in you. Winning the National Honoree title, was the first large step in validating a little boys dream and igniting his passion. The next large step in that validation process was the United Way of Cattaraugus County, Newmans Own and USA Weekend working together so a group of kids known simply as the "Crew" could put forth the dreams of others! Even though we never personally met Mr. Newman, JT took great pride when he was told by USA Weekend that Mr. Newman has his eye on JT and what he was doing. It is very hard for us to put in words the loss we feel this day and for many days to come. Thank you Newman's Own and thank you to the Newman family for sharing. Thank you for encouraging a young boy to dream and to never give up! There are no words to adequately describe what the NEwman family and Company are going through. Please take some comfort in knowing a little boy did not loose sight of his goals and when the chips were down he would laugh and ask to watch one of Mr. Newman's movies. JT's personal mission has even more meaning, not only to keep faith but to continue to inspire those around him as Mr. Newman did. God Bless the Newman family and Newman's Own. All Aboard!!
P.S. We did plan on posting about a NYC trip and the Extreme Train Makeover as well as shout outs to some wonderfull people. We felt that for now we will be silent in honor of Mr. Newman's passing and will continue chugging along the rails next week. Please visit and watch the You Tube video featuring Mr. Newman. I cried because I see a lot of JT's thoughts about kids and the project as Mr. Newman talks about his mission. Be back next week in the meantime.....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

WWE and JT?..... watch the clip and see...

What a great birthday present... Mom goes to get balloons for the birthday boy's celebration and find out that he is on the WWE website in a video clip! I could and still can not believe it... I have said it before and I will say it again...Big Show and Michelle McCool were fantstic with JT! For JT, who takes a while to warm up to anybody, their support that evening meant a lot to him and for him to see them as real people was even more special. Thank you soooo much Big Show and Michelle McCool for making a little guy feel like he was a hero for the night! By the way, last year JT and company collected almost 30,000 cans, plastics and bottles! Thanks again to the WWE, Big Show and Michelle McCool for helping to "make a difference"! Watch and Enjoy! All Aboard!!....

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

2008 Hero Award Show - July 4th - MyNetworkTV - 8-10p.m.

Hi Everyone! This does not seem possible! JT and the 2008 Hero Award Show. We realize it is on 4th of July so we are asking that people set their recording devices and watch at a later time. Make sure you have Kleenexes or hankies, your loved ones, plenty of popcorn and your dancing shoes! The musical guests were incredible! I hope you all come away feeling inspired as much as JT and I did. Even my mom was inspired and touched! This trip was an incredible learning experience for JT and myself. Thanks to WWE for having Michelle McCool and Paul"Big Show"Wight! These two people were fantastic. They took JT under their wings and made him feel like the star for the evening. As I mom, I could not be prouder. I was very concerned that people would be rude or give JT the wrong impression. I could not have been further from the truth. Everyone involved in the show from JT's handler to the production people to the stars themselves made JT feel as though he was the star of the evening. This is no easy task. Taking a boy who is not wanting to be in the spotlight and thrusting him onto stage in front hundreds of people. Big Show and Michelle were nothing short of amazing! JT later told me that Big Show was like a long lost uncle to him. I know have a better impression of the WWE - thanks Big Show and Michelle! What was even more amazing; when JT finished receiving his award and went backstage everybody clapped for him and gave him high fives and the same in the green room - cheers, people clapping, and high fives. When you live in small town such as ours and the media portrayal of celebrities is so negative - this experience showed JT that stars are people too and they can be very giving and caring people. So thank you to everyone involved. I would like to say thank you to Bo Bice and Ace Young. Bo was wonderful to JT and his cousin Amanda. It JT's words, Bo is a very humble man. Ace Young was great to JT. You see JT was falling asleep in the green room and he was a little overwhelmed. Ace was kind enough to see JT struggling and just stepped up. He came over to JT, said a few words of encouragement to him and the next thing I know JT is over with Ace and Ace's guitar player chatting with them. Mind you, these people could have completely ignored JT (JT is only 11) but they went out of their way to include him and comfort him. As a mom, I was amazed and will be forever grateful to these people and the 2008 Hero Awards! This trip help to reinforce all the things I have been trying to teach my son.In the next blog I will tell you more about the Hero Awards and how they are chosen and who supports this great mission!Remember,the Hero Awards are about celebrating and recognizing everyday people who do extraordinary things. On this 4th July, please also say a prayer for those who are serving while we are celebrating our country's birthday. Thank you to each and everyone of you! Go record the 2008 Hero Awards then watch it later with family and friends! As JT says, Dream... Inspire... and Believe! All Aboard!! Monica

Saturday, April 19, 2008

2008 Everyday Hero Award....and the winner is.....

When JT and I talk about a hero, we think about the people serving in Iraq and Afanganstan(actually anyone in the military) parents of special needs children, parents and families of children who are chronically ill and/or terminal ill, the chidlren at Stone's Buddies (Hi Amelia,Alex,and Ian) and one of the toughest little guys out there right now - Hunter Winship and his Airplane Cancer Goal. Imagine our shock,suprise, and elation when we were notified that JT is being honored with the Everyday Hero Award - 2008. JT is still overwhlemed and in shock. He keeps saying that he is not a hero, just an everyday kid with a love of trains! JT will be presented the award on June 6th in Los Angeles, California at a black-tie evening affaif! (yes, he has to wear a tux:)) JT has been asked to give a 10-15 minute(oops, seconds)speech (he does not know this yet, though)Hopefully, this award will help to inspire more kids to dream and reach for the stars, as well as, parents and community members to step up to the plate. With all that said, it is you, those who have supported this project that are the true hereos! Without you, the project would have never grown and moved full steam ahead! Thank you to each and everyone of you for your support, your encouragement, and your faith! Thank you for allowing a little boy to share his passion and compassion with others and to give kids a chance to ride the rails! God Bless! All Aboard!!