If you’ve driven up Springfield's National Avenue at all this year, you’ve probably seen the line of letters along the edge of Loren Street. “All Zoomed Out,” “Teachers Rock” and “Can’t We All Just Get Along,” are just a few of the messages Scott Sturm has written in his front yard since early April.
About 32 weeks and 31 messages later, Sturm, a 26-year Springfield resident, is still posting a new message every Sunday night. He says he plans to keep it going as long as “big, bad COVID sticks around.”
Sturm, an AMAX Real Estate agent, knows a lot of people drive past his house every day: In 2017, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce estimated 30,700 cars drove on National Avenue between Sunshine St. and Chestnut Expressway each day. Sturm says that, before the pandemic, he had considered selling advertising space in his yard because of its prime location, but, when the country went into crisis due to COVID-19, he decided to use the space for something a bit more positive. In mid-March, Sturm bought his first set of letters off Amazon for $50 and wrote the world “Smile,” at the corner of National and Loren. He says he saw an opportunity to connect with the community and spread positivity from the busy corner where he lives with his wife, Katrina, and two young daughters.