Nuclear engineer was competitor on Amazon show
By Laura Dobson
Special to The Witness
CEDAR FALLS — On Monday, Sept. 25, alumnus David Prescott made a return visit to the school he remembers dearly. He provided the students with a personal visit with an astronaut, the opportunity to help others have a Merry Christmas, and a financial gift to enhance their educational experiences.
Prescott referenced his roots at St. Patrick Catholic School several times during his presentation and conveyed to the group that their whole life begins with the skills they learn as an elementary student.
His visit began at 2 p.m. Monday as a black Cadillac Escalade pulled into the parking lot. He and his Amazon “Fireball Run” I-Team exited the highly decorated vehicle, and cheers exited rose from the kindergarten through grade eight students and faculty.
Prescott and his team members greeted the students and explained about their participation in Amazon’s original “Fireball Run” series. The show follows teams as they solve clues to participate in adventures while raising awareness for missing children. Their team is part of series 11, which is “racing” from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to Rapid City, South Dakota, Sept. 22-30, 2017.
Our school is blessed to know David Prescott, says Principal Bev Mach. “He is a tremendous role model of generosity and a giving heart. We are proud that even though he moved away from Cedar Falls after sixth grade, he identifies St. Patrick Catholic School as ‘his school.’ It is so obvious that he cherishes the memories he created here as a child.”
Prescott quickly moved on to the reason for the day’s visit. He introduced teammate and astronaut Marcos Pontes and told the students they would have a chance to listen to and ask questions of Pontes after a brief ceremony.
With a huge smile, Principal Mach walked forward with two large items Prescott had sent ahead of time. As the crowd listened intently, Prescott presented an oversized check for $10,000 to Lisa Vry-Lageschulte representing Toys for Tots.
Prescott referenced the WalMart shopping spree he took the school’s seventh- and eighth-graders on last November. On that trip, they filled carts with toys until they reached the $10,000 donation he had made. “Toys for Tots is very important to me. I spent 10 years in the Navy, and I like the charity. I like the organization because you know 100 percent of the toys go to kids in need.” Prescott plans to return in November to give the students the chance to help others once again.
“We also have a gift for my school,” he said next. “I find it important to me to help out the school I came from and to see all of you guys continue to develop. What’s pretty amazing is, as all of you are sitting here, look at myself. I am a business owner. My company was one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. I’m a nuclear engineer also. All that started right here in this school.”
Dobson is marketing coordinator, St. Patrick Parish and School.
David Prescott of Integra Optics presents a $10,000 check to Toys for Tots and a $10,000 check to St. Patrick School. Accepting the checks are Lisa Vry-Lageschulte, student council member Gus Skilling and Principal Bev Mach. Prescott, second from right, is an alumnus of St. Patrick. His Amazon “Fireball Run” series team member Marcus Pontes (right) is a Brazilian astronaut who answered students’ questions about space travel during their visit. Prescott explained that the race to find missing children never ends. To date, 51 missing children have been found as a result of the awareness raised by the Amazon series. The donation to the school will go toward St. Patrick’s science program. (Photo by Laura Dobson/ St. Patrick School)