Curtis Sawyer got a good night's sleep Sunday. He didn't know when he would be sleeping again.
At 6 a.m. Monday, the Storm Lake radio host was cranked up 25 feet in the air on a scissor-lift platform, vowing not to come back down until he raised $25,000 in pledges to serve as a gift to the American Red Cross from the people of the Storm Lake community.
"As I talked to people in the days after the terrorist disaster, there was such an incredible range of emotion. You could feel that people here were dying to do something, but didn't know where to start," Sawyer said shortly before taking to his perch over Fitzpatrick Auto Center on North Lake Avenue in Storm Lake.
"People are angry, frustrated or feeling helpless. My biggest desire is that maybe some people can see me doing my thing, and begin to let those feelings go and get involved in a positive way," he said. "We were standing around in the office at KKAI The Moose radio station, trying to brainstorm something we could do, and this is what we came up with."
For Sawyer, doing strange things for good causes is a way of life.
"I've done similar stunts in the past. I raised 50,000 pounds of food once for a food bank in Reno, Nevada, and I once raised 350 coats and pairs of shoes and boots for an orphanage in Boise, Idaho," he said.
Sawyer once agreed to throw out the first pitch in a major baseball game dressed as a drag queen, a stunt that earned season tickets for disadvantaged children.
"I'll pretty much do anything," he laughed.
Sawyer has been a disc jockey in Storm Lake since late 1997. Based on what he knows about the community, he guessed he would raise the $25,000 in 24 hours atop his perch. If it takes much longer, he's staying for the duration, he said.
He had $7,000 by noon, $12,000 after nightfall Monday.
He isn't planning many creature comforts - a cell phone in order to broadcast live almost continuously from the platform, a flag, a thermos of hot coffee, and a chair.
"Anybody or everybody is welcome to come out and say hello. People will be able to make a donation right there, or they can also call in a pledge to the radio station at 732-9200," Sawyer said.
Stanton Electric is providing the scissor lift.