Keeping it Clean

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A gloved hand reaches down amongst the pebbles and crackly weeds for a sun-bleached piece of plastic. The murmur of the clean-up group’s conversation rumbles underneath the sound of passing cars. Suddenly, a car horn gives out a short staccato of beeps. A San Angelo civilian waves and honks as they pass a blue sign with the words: “Adopt-a-Highway Next 2 Miles Goodfellow Air Force Base Top 3.”

Goodfellow Air Force Base has kept the San Angelo community clean by adopting highways since 2007. Blue signs are planted all around the city, showing the numerous Goodfellow groups participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program.

“It’s a way to not only beautify the community, but to let people know it’s folks from the base that are out there,” said Master Sgt. Michael D. Champion, 312th Training Squadron course supervisor NCO in charge. “Even though it’s a small gesture, it’s important.”

By picking up trash four to six times a year, one group from Goodfellow collected 3,390 pounds of trash. Competing against 15 other counties, one group also collected half as much as all 15 counties had combined.

“You can tell they’re doing an outstanding job by just looking at the facts that show their participation,” said James Whitlock, San Angelo Adopt-a-Highway coordinator. “As for the number of years that they have been participating, we as an agency couldn’t ask for more.”

Goodfellow volunteers go out about six times a year to go clean up the adopted highways, which are two-mile stretches both ways. The more volunteers there are the less work each volunteer has to do.

“My kids and I will split into our lanes and scan for trash,” said Master Sgt. Frederick E. Childs, 315th Training Squadron commander’s internal control manager. “They are very intrigued by the things you can find.”

It’s no secret that Goodfellow and the San Angelo community have a great relationship, what some might not know is how they developed such a good relationship. The Adopt-a-Highway program is one of the many programs that Goodfellow has participated in help the environment and economy of San Angelo.

“I think psychologically, seeing clean highways, or seeing garbage, has a subtle effect on people’s perception of where they are at,” said Childs.

With 11 groups from Goodfellow that are involved in Adopt-a-Highway, why don’t you join one and go see for yourself the positive impact you can make?

For more information about the Adopt-a-Highway program, explore the website www.texdot.gov.