“I was in the military and civil service. I retired in 1997. I got bored and went to work picking up trash for the city of Foley. It was also to keep my wife’s sanity. I am 80 years old and have to stay busy. I have been picking up trash three days a week for 24 years. It hurts my soul that people can throw out trash like this, I look at my work as saving all of this from going into the waterway. Foley has the reputation of being a clean city. I am proud to be a part of that. I take the trash to the city and keep the cans to recycle. I sold 385 pounds of aluminum cans last week. That was 3 or 4 months’ worth of cans.
If it can be lost, I have found it. I cleaned out my barn last year. I had picked up 17 shovels, 14 rakes and 200 hammers. I have found hundred dollar bills. How do you lose those? I feel bad for the people who lose them, but they are also a blessing that I received. If I didn’t find them, they would be torn up by the bush hog. I use the money I find and the money I make from recycling cans to buy savings bonds for my grandchildren.
I see everything out here. Some things I don’t want to see. But I also get to know folks one on one. They have become my people.
I was born in the 1940s and appreciate every dollar. I cherish everything. I have been married 54 years. We didn’t just get married, we formed a partnership. You get back what you give and then some. It breaks my heart where our nation is now. I feel like we are on the wrong track. We have taken prayer out of schools. We are losing our rights to do what we want to when we want to do it. We are giving away too much. A hand-up is good. A hand-out is not. There are too many hands out.
Everyone is talented. My talent is picking up trash. This is what I am put on earth for. I think what I am doing is making a difference.”