Tackling the trash

| May 1, 2012 | 0 Comments
Maj. John Colburn (left) and Chief Warrant Officer Kevin McSally, both of the 9th MSC, haul a shopping cart from Kapakahi Stream in Waipahu.

Maj. John Colburn (left) and Chief Warrant Officer Kevin McSally, both of the 9th MSC, haul a shopping cart from Kapakahi Stream in Waipahu.

Volunteers roll up sleeves to remove stream rubbish

Story and Photos by
Stefanie Gardin
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

WAIPAHU — Two bicycles, one shopping cart, a carburetor, a TV and the front seat of a car were just a few of the “finds” discovered by Army volunteers at an Earth Month Cleanup, here, April 21.

Fourteen volunteers from the 9th Mission Support Command, the U.S. Army Reserve Theater Support Group and U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii gave up their Saturday morning to give back to the community at the Pearl Harbor Bike Path Cleanup along Kapakahi Stream near Waipahu Depot Road.

Marybeth Racette, USAR TSG, drags a bicycle from Kapakahi Stream, April 21. Racette and 13 other Army volunteers donated their time to beautify the community. Together they filled more than 60 bags’ worth of trash from the stream.

Marybeth Racette, USAR TSG, drags a bicycle from Kapakahi Stream, April 21. Racette and 13 other Army volunteers donated their time to beautify the community. Together they filled more than 60 bags’ worth of trash from the stream.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services has been organizing this annual cleanup for six years, and this is the fifth year the Army has lent a hand.

“A lot of our Soldiers live out here, and they and their families use the bike path,” said Marybeth Racette, recycling manager, Environmental Division, USAR TSG. “We wanted to get involved with the community and not just do something on base.”

Marybeth and coworker Amanda Barbier initiated Army support to the stream cleanup in 1995 as a 9th MSC effort, and now other Army units are joining in the dirty work.

Several of the volunteers — newbies and veterans alike — were surprised by what was waiting: instead of a lush, tropical setting, they found a stream so clogged with trash, that at some points even the water wasn’t visible.

“Oh my gosh, it’s just the amount there in the stream. I wasn’t expecting that,” said Kim DeCaprio, environmental specialist, Env. Div., Directorate of Public Works, USAG-HI.

“It was smellier than I thought it would be,” added first-time volunteer Chief Warrant Officer Kevin McSally, legal administrator, 9th MSC.

Fernando Badua, 9th MSC, perfects his trash-raking technique at the Pearl Harbor Bike Path Cleanup, April 21.

Fernando Badua, 9th MSC, perfects his trash-raking technique at the Pearl Harbor Bike Path Cleanup, April 21.

McSally volunteered because he thought it would be fun to do something with the unit and also because he thought it was a good cause.

In just over two hours, he and fellow volunteers raked, netted and shoveled more than 60 garbage bags full of trash out of the stream.

“It was nice to see the change,” McSally said.

During this year’s cleanup, volunteers from multiple community organizations and businesses tackled the trash at five different sites along the Pearl Harbor bike path.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services provided gloves, trash bags and tools. Another cleanup is is planned for the fall.

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Category: Army Community Covenant, Community, Community Relations, Sustainability

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