Local youth participate in Make It Shine cleanup effort

PARKERSBURG – Youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently spent their Saturday cleaning up dump sites and picking up trash along a portion of the American Discovery Trail as part of a 2013 West Virginia Make It Shine Statewide Cleanup effort.

Local youth Jack Walker, Miranda Richards, and Chad Richards from Parkersburg; and Lauren Gray and Kristen Gray from Vincent; were joined by their peers from church youth groups in Charleston and Teays Valley.

The group met in the parking lot at West Virginia University at Parkersburg where they were greeted by Mark Abbott, Tim McClung, and Ken Adams, board members for the North Bend Rails-to-Trails Foundation Inc. After a short safety briefing and history lesson about the trail, the youth were given litter pickers, gloves and trash bags, after which they got to work.

Two hours later, they had gathered enough trash to fill eight pickup trucks. Trash included old television sets, computer monitors, tires, carpet, a fish tank, a cash register, a rusty refrigerator and an assortment of bottles and cans.

This was 12-year-old Jack Walker’s first service project with the youth group. “It was hard at first, but we pressed on,” he said. “During the process it made me upset how the trash was 70 percent alcohol related, 20 percent car parts, and 10 percent other. It was pretty gross! At the end I felt glad I helped to make the environment a little better.”

NBRT Foundation Chairman Mark Abbott was glad they’d helped too. “These young people were fabulous workers,” he said. “This not only benefits Wood County and the North Bend Rail, but it helps everyone because the North Bend is part of the American Discovery Trail, a trail that stretches from coast-to-coast.”