By Nathan Ham
You might not know Floyd “Dipper” Garrison personally, but almost everybody in Boone knows who he is.
For the last 25 years, Dipper has been standing on the corner of Highway 321 and Highway 105 at the busiest intersection in Boone with his “Jesus Loves You” sign each Saturday from noon to 1:00pm.
Dipper says he has gotten a lot of reactions over the years, both positive and negative. However, with the current COVID-19 virus impacting travel and local, state and federal governments imploring people to stay home, even he is a little surprised at the major decrease in traffic in Boone.
“I was just thinking I haven’t seen it this slow since a blizzard we had one time,” Dipper says.
Less traffic was not the only thing Dipper noticed from his sidewalk pulpit.
“I never thought I would look over there at that gas station and see gas at $1.91. That tells you something right here,” Dipper said as he looked across the intersection to the Exxon gas station on Saturday afternoon.
Dipper was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey on November 24, 1944, and eventually found his way to the High Country to attend Appalachian State Teacher’s College. He has been through some ups and downs in his life, including the untimely death of his mother and at one point being homeless while attending college at Appalachian State. Dipper later survived a stroke in 2015 and has had to deal with the unexpected death of his son, Aaron, in 2019.
Through all these times, Dipper has turned to God in his greatest time of need. He is hoping to spread this same message to folks that have to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Maybe some people are a little more enthusiastic than they used to be, but you can tell people really haven’t gotten it yet. This is a wake-up call for America,” said Dipper. “I’ve been praying for years on what the Lord would do to get our attention.”
Dipper said that he would be praying for people and businesses to be able to make it through these hard times.
“It’s a very strange time. If this goes on for much longer there are going to be more and more problems. You can see people shutting down. It’s devastating for small businesses; I’m afraid if it goes on much longer people won’t be able to make it. I’ll be praying,” he said.
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