First Posted: 3/4/2013
Though the area does look better, thanks to the Lions, the task is never-ending. “It looks good for a while, but people in the Dupont area are fed up because it gets littered so quickly,” Hansen commented
That doesn’t go for everyone. A lot of motorists are oblivious to the litter. “They are so used to seeing it, they accept it, unfortunately,” Hansen said.
Lions Sue Gregory is among those who haven’t missed a cleanup. “The Lions want to help the community in any way they can,” she said. “We have Easter egg hunts and things and this is just another way to give back. Doing this every quarter makes the town look better.”
During the last pickup, Gregory said the crews found diapers, loaves of bread and a nightgown.
Hansen admires the volunteers. Among them are Lions, non-Lions such as Dupont Borough Manager Patty McDonald, who does cleanups on her own; Hansen’s wife, Pina, and their son, Cristian, a Pittston Area sophomore and a member of the Leo Club, the high school version of the Lions Club.
“When we started this, we asked people to give back to the community by, of all things, picking up trash,” Hansen said. “I really give everybody credit. They get little recognition for doing a dirty job. It’s lot of work but it’s gratifying.”
Gregory agreed. “If I’m going to be the one to say I’m not going to do it, then who would? What harm would it do me? I’m able to walk and bend. If we set an example, maybe someday our kids will do the same.”
The Lions estimate they have picked up 4,500 pounds of trash in the year cycle with one more pickup to go in April during the annual Great Cleanup of PA (GCPA.)
Eckert, the Luzerne County PennDOTcoordinator, said on GCPA day alone, April 21 last year, there were 18,850 bags collected by 278 groups that participated in Luzerne County. That includes Adopt-A-Highway groups and other groups that volunteer just for the GCPA.
Eckert said service groups like the Lions and Boy Scouts are not the only groups that adopt highways. Any kind of group can apply. Memorial groups, church clubs, private businesses and even families have adopted highways.
The groups come in all sizes. The previous sponsor of the Route 315 section the Lions adopted was Penn Baker Supply, which was really a husband and wife who owned the business. They stopped when the husband became ill.
Eckert said PennDOT’s greatest need for the adopt program is in rural areas.