County’s Day to Serve is precursor to Clean Community Day
PRINCE GEORGE — The dark skies held back on Friday morning after calls for thunderstorms across the area, giving Prince George County volunteers the chance to clean up their community. Around 54 county employees took the morning away from their regular jobs to pick up garbage along county roads.
“The big thing is that county employees were given the opportunity to volunteer our time,” said Prince George County Human Services Director Corrie Hurt, one of the day’s organizers. “Our county administrator didn’t make us take our leave time for it. We appreciate being given the opportunity while we’re working to be out there donating.”
Members of the crews were all smiles Friday morning as they slunk up and down 10 miles of Prince George Drive and Jefferson Park Road. The 54 workers that volunteered were split into nine crews of six volunteers. Each crew tackled one side of the road over a 2-mile stretch, while another crew worked down the other, making their way through swamp, high grasses and unshouldered roads.
At the end of the day, county volunteers had filled 217 total bags of trash. Some of the most common roadside items were beer and liquor bottles, fast food trays from Wendy’s and Dairy Queen and larger items like tires that had to be sloshed out of the mud.
“We just hate to see litter anywhere, that’s kind of the goal,” said Scott Reiter, a county Extension agent, specializing in agriculture and natural resources. “I don’t pick up trash every day but most of the time I’m on the farm, working with land owners, working with home owners, so this is a little bit different pace but I like it.”
The rest of Reiter’s team of workers came from the county’s Social Services, the treasury, county administration and two police officers. Other teams included a range of titles from Information Technology and Public Works.
“It’s also great to get some fellowship. These ladies here I don’t work with them on a daily basis. I didn’t even know some of their names when I came out,” Reiter said. “This gives you the opportunity to learn five new people in the county.”
Safety was a primary concern going into this project, with the roads having relatively little shoulder between working space and the traffic passing.
Each team was organized to have a team leader who worked in either the fire or police departments.
They also included a physical wellness portion where everyone was given a step counter. Anyone who logged over 7500 steps was awarded a $25 gift card.
This was the first Prince George Day to Serve since 2013, when county workers did a similar cleaning of Appomattox River Regional Park, where they also mulched and planted flowers.
This year’s Day to Serve is a precursor to Prince George’s Clean Community Day on April 20 where the county will collect household items that are hard to dispose, like washing machines, tires and hazardous cleaning materials in hopes of riding the area of unwanted garbage.
“We have wanted to do another day to serve for several years now ...” Hurt said. “If the county employees can take time off and go out there and clean the roadways then hopefully others can spend some time on a Saturday morning helping out. Hopefully it will spark just one or two people and it’s like wildfire.”
By Sean Jones, Staff Writer