News: Base and community volunteers 'Cleanup Altus'
Story by Airman 1st Class franklin ramos
ALTUS, Okla. – The 97th Air Mobility Wing helped the city of Altus save more than $18,000 by picking up 1,790 pounds of roadside trash, Feb. 23, 2013.
Members of Altus Air Force Base partnered with the community to help “Cleanup Altus” – the first event of many created to help keep the city litter-free throughout the year.
“The purpose for the day’s events was to help beautify the city while giving military personnel an opportunity to give back,” said Maj. Michael Whitacre, 97th AMW director of staff. “It doesn’t just stop here; this is scheduled to be a quarterly event. The next one is scheduled to take place in May.”
The 140 base volunteers gathered at the commissary parking lot Saturday morning in spite of the inclement weather, to show dedication in helping the local community. Members were transported to several locations along Veterans Drive armed with trash bags, gloves and safety vests to clean alongside the roadway.
“I like volunteering,” said Staff Sgt. Meshanda Lopez, 97th AMW noncommissioned officer in charge of military justice. “I think that it’s a good proactive approach and it shows that we want to be involved with the community and strengthen those relations.”
Volunteers collected trash along the streets in Altus for four hours.
“After the event was over we counted 475 trash bags picked up Saturday,” said Holly Urbanski, City of Altus Chamber of Commerce president. “We are all residents here and Altus AFB representatives wanted to be a part of this cleanup.”
“I think it was essential for a great relationship between us and the community,” Whitacre said. “I thought it went really well and even with the bad weather we had, everyone had a great time.”