If you had a choice, would you rather live in a town where the streets and yards are clean, neat and look like the residents care about each other and their community? Or, live in a town where there is trash on the streets and in yards? Which would you pick?
I don’t know about you, but I would pick option one. So much so that my wife, Bett, and I are trying to do our part to make it a reality because we want Dalton to look its best — and you can, too!
During our daily walks, we make a point to pick up trash that we see. When we started years ago, people looked at us like we had lost our minds. Well, some things never change. However today, we have more people express their appreciation, and often they lend a hand.
Many people ask about the process, and I tell them there are four primary keys to success:
1. Have a great walking partner. Sometimes Bett picks up trash, sometimes she points out trash for me to pick up, but she is always good company.
2. Have the right equipment with you. I think more people would pick up trash if they had a bag to carry it in. Who wants to carry a broken beer bottle in their pocket or hand? I started with a plastic grocery store bag, but quickly learned that I needed something more durable. Now I carry a couple of Glad tall kitchen bags with draw strings. Now, I feel kind of like the guy with the best golf club.
3. Want to exercise. A good walking program helps us stay healthy. You’d be surprised at how much exercise you can get by walking several miles picking up pieces of trash about every 15 to 20 yards.
4. Love this community. Some days, the weather is less than ideal for walking. We can’t walk every day because things happen, but if possible, we hit the sidewalks with our bags in hand, hoping to make a noticeable difference in the appearance of our fine city.
People ask how we feel when there is not much trash to pick up, and I say, “Wonderful!” If our community is better at keeping our trash confined to our vehicles and trash receptacles, if no one throws trash out, or other people pick up trash before I get there, it is all the better. This just means that we all care about our community.
So if you get the chance next week, make sure that nothing blows out of your vehicle, put on your walking shoes, grab a good bag, and let’s all work together to help keep Dalton beautiful.
Steve and Bett Laird are Dalton residents and volunteers with Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful