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Viva las cleanup

Melissa M. Kellogg
Vail Daily/Shane Macomber Mich Gray,15, and Kate Gray,11, work together making our community a cleaner place by volunteering for the Community Pride Highway Cleanup, that streached from Vail to Gypsum.
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Who ever thought cleaning up trash could be more fun than a weekend in Vegas? Ray Kosak of the Christie Lodge did.

He stayed behind to participate in Saturday’s community clean-up when his friends and half of his team took off for a weekend in Las Vegas. Kosak joined hundreds of volunteers Saturday morning along Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 6 to clean up trash exposed now that the snow has melted.

After a couple days of intermittent rain and snow, volunteers were glad to see the sunshine. “God has blessed us with this wonderful weather, without it I think turnout would have been half,” said Jana Brown, who has been a volunteer for the last five years.

Brown said she was happy to be working in Edwards this year. “The last two years I did Minturn to Red Cliff and that was a tough strip to cover – it’s everybody’s trash can,” she said. She joined in with a group from the Vail Valley Rotary Club, led by Judy and Don Donnalley.

The large volunteer turnout included many first timers, such as newlywed Gypsum resident Erica Pollack. She and husband Bennett Pollack, a longtime volunteer, cleaned I-70 just east of the Avon exit.

“It makes you feel good to clean up the community,” she said.

“If we all chip in it makes a special place even more special,” her husband said.

As for why they did not cleanup closer to home in Gypsum? Because when they signed up, they were told that there were plenty of volunteers in the Eagle-Gypsum area and not enough in Avon. “I think the Avon people need to get on the stick,” he said.

Many of the returning volunteers were encouraged by their observations that the amount of trash seemed less this year.

“I guess we got the washing machines picked up last year,” Bennett said.

Brown echoed that sentiment with her stories of pulling out old refrigerators last year.

Each year volunteers end the day at the post event party to share some laughs and their stories of interesting items found. A vivacious group from the Avon Business Association said that their findings included an un-smoked cigarette, a Subaru hubcap and pizza trays.

Mark Weinreich of Venture Sports said, “based on the trash we have found today smokers and drinkers are the biggest polluters.”

This year the volunteers gathered at the Lazy J Ranch near Wolcott. Volunteers told of finding items from dog collars to lucky dice. Then there are the stories of the dirty diapers and bottles of urine and spittle. Newlywed Erica found a bottle of men’s performance enhancement pills.

“Perfect for the newlyweds,” remarked a fellow team member.

When asked why Kosak stayed behind instead of going to Vegas he finally remarked: “Because I live here and thought it would be nice. It’s a beautiful place to live.”


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