Love your family, love your neighbor — and just simply love.
That is the message of a new billboard that has shown up in Temple with just the word “Love” printed on it in large letters. No other words are written, no website, no product, just love.
Located along the northbound side of Interstate 35, just north of Johnson Brothers Ford, sits Temple’s “Love” sign that is part of a worldwide campaign started by its founder, John Pogachar, and later brought to Temple by Dorenda Thomas.
“I went to a friend’s place and said that I wanted it to be as clean as it could be,” he said. “I didn’t want any websites on it, or try to sell anything on it. Love can stand for so many things for people, so I just wanted people to be able to say ‘OK, love — what does it mean to me?’”
Pogachar is a life coach who lives in Spokane, Wash., who one day, during his time in meditation, decided that the world needed more love and that is what he wanted to do.
When this campaign first started, Pogachar gathered support in his area to put the first five billboards up around Spokane. It was only after putting up these five that Pogachar was able to get interest in other areas of the country for his idea and billboards.
“(The idea) started in a coaching call with trying to figure out a better way to put love out into the world,” Pogachar said. “That is what I really profess and what I think people need more of in their lives right now. I love that it can mean so many things to different people.”
There have now been a total of 10 states with these billboards in the country, while others have popped up in countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Canada.
While Pogachar paid for the first billboards around Spokane, most others have been funded by donations or sponsors who have paid for a billboard near where they live or think it is important. There are a few exceptions to this, such as after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburg when Pogachar chose to put up a billboard there.
Another unique element of these billboards is that they are not permanent, nor do they stay in each location long term. Each of these billboards usually stays up for a total of one month before disappearing.
The reason for this, besides money, is to have the message be thought provoking by showing up one day and disappearing just a short time later.
Thomas, the person who brought the “Love” sign to Temple, is a local writer and adult educator who heard about the sign during a meditation retreat at Asilomar in Monterrey, Calif.
After talking with Pogachar during the retreat, Thomas enjoyed his message so much that she wanted to bring his movement to Central Texas.
In a news release about the billboard, Thomas said that she loves that the billboard is surrounded by nature while displaying a message of unconditional love.
“I love the project just because of the simplicity of the message without any advertising, links, or hash tags, it is just love,” Thomas said. “Love is available to anyone in any walk of life. Everyone gets a good dose of unconditional love whenever they pass by the billboard.”
Even though Pogachar has already created a total of 71 of these billboards around the world, including the one in Temple, he still has plans to continue spreading his message. He is currently hoping to have billboards in Austria, Australia and the United Kingdom.