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Cups runneth over with pickup truck

Experiment began with sermon on strength in numbers

July 26, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Kirk Mullenix lowered his Ford F-150 from a jack onto 150 paper cups outside his church.
Submitted photo

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — It wasn't long after Kirk Mullenix began standing on paper cups that he wondered how much more the cups could hold.

Weeks later, Mullenix lowered his Ford F-150 from a jack onto 150 paper cups outside his church.

"I had never seen paper cups do this before," he said.

The experiment began when the pastor of Greencastle Church of the Brethren was preaching about the cup Christians believe was used at the Last Supper and Communion. Mullenix, 55, stood above the pews on a plywood contraption and eventually pulled away some cloth to reveal he was being supported by paper cups.

"I talked about how we're not strong enough to tackle things on our own, but as a group we can do it," the Rev. Leon Yoder said.

One cup can hold 30 pounds, so Mullenix said it takes a group of them to support an adult.

Mullenix began calculating what he'd need to support his pickup truck during vacation Bible school. Some of the cups he used had parishioners' names on them to symbolically show children that those who came before them will support them.

He successfully attempted the feat July 8.

"I showed the children how you can easily crush one cup," Mullenix said.

Now, Mullenix, who works at Manitowoc, is thinking bigger. He estimates he'd need close to 3,000 cups to support an 18-wheel tractor-trailer, but doesn't have the resources to attempt it.

Mullenix emailed pictures of the pickup truck experiment to the White House, referencing both his own challenge and those budgetary ones faced by government leaders.

Mullenix and Yoder said they enjoy math and problem-solving. About 60 people watched Mullenix's truck attempt.

"We had a lot of doubters in the crowd, including his wife," Yoder said.

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