Chapter TenTHE QUALITY MINDSET

In the summer of 1989, nine-year-old Melissa Poe and her mother had been watching a rerun of Highway to Heaven as they folded the laundry in their home in Nashville, Tennessee. The episode featured an angel warning that people might die unless something was done about the earth’s air and water pollution. Melissa was moved. “I really wanted to help,” she said years later. “I wanted to be one of those people who cared.”

She sent a letter to President George H. W. Bush with some suggestions for fighting pollution. When she received no response after three months, she decided to act upon those suggestions herself. With the help of some sympathetic adults, a copy of her letter soon appeared on 250 billboards across the ...

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