WASHINGTON — The 13th annual Take Pride in Washington Day will look a lot like the previous dozen.
Longtime participants such as Grace Baptist Church and Wissel Trucking will be back again Saturday, contributing to the community-wide volunteer effort to pick up trash in public areas across the city.
“We love the event. We have a great time every year giving back to the community,” said the Rev. Adam Kipp from Grace Bible Church in Washington.
Church members and Kipp’s family, a group of about 15 to 20, clean from the church at 1109 S. Main St., along South Main to the downtown square and back. Normally three or four bags are filled with trash.
“We’ve picked up a tire, a toothbrush, and, unfortunately, a smushed squirrel,” Kipp said when asked about some of the church group’s more unusual findings.
Kipp said his children have been so inspired by the spring cleanup that they’ve looked for trash around the family’s house afterward.
Grace Bible Church has participated in Take Pride in Washington for at least nine years, Kipp said.
Wissel Trucking of Washington has been along for the ride since the first year, said Austin Wissel.
Austin Wissel and his father, Dan Wissel, pick up filled trash bags, place them in dump trucks and take them to garbage bins.
It normally takes two to three hours to collect the trash bags filled by a few hundred volunteers.
“I was a kid when my dad started picking up the bags. I’d get out of his truck and get the bags,” said Austin Wissel, who’s 23.
Groups and individuals can participate in Take Pride in Washington Day. Sign-up will be at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the Wenger Shelter in Washington Park, off Stratford Drive south of Westgate Drive.
After remarks and a group photo at 9 a.m., the cleanup will begin. It will last about 1 1/2 hours.
Gloves, trash bags and T-shirts will be given to volunteers while supplies last and donuts, coffee and juice will be available.
Jon Oliphant, Washington’s planning and development director, maps out the areas that need to be cleaned. He asks that groups and individuals send him an email in advance of the cleanup day at email@example.com.
The Washington Park District is overseeing Take Pride in Washington Day for the first time. The city, Washington Chamber of Commerce, Washington Police Department, Washington Rotary Club and Washington Lions Club are among those helping out.
The park district, city and chamber oversaw Take Pride in Washington the past few years.
“It’s been a smooth transition. There aren’t any major changes,” said Matt Suellentrop, the park district’s recreation manager.
Washington Mayor Gary Manier came up with the idea for Take Pride in Washington Day after reading a letter to the editor from a Washington resident imploring people to stop littering and seeing an empty fast-food bag tossed out of a car along U.S. Business Route 24.
Rita Fischbach wrote that letter. Dressed in colorful socks and a hat, she picked up trash on her daily walks around Washington, depositing it in plastic bags she carried with her.
Manier asked Fischbach if she’d be interested in organizing an annual community cleanup day. Take Pride in Washington was her passion until her death Jan. 13, 2015, at age 72.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.