They just went out and did it

SPRING CLEANING - Pat Meents (from left), Debbie Cox and Kim Jansen canvas the neighborhood along South Water Street picking up trash. They decided Monday, a 74-degree day, to pitch in to rid yards and streets of left-behind winter litter. Their efforts ended up requiring a wheelbarrow to help carry the load. The trio encouraged other property owners to join in the cleanup campaign. Photo by Eric Fisher.

Eric Fisher

As joggers who often run Wilmington’s city streets, Pat Meents, Kim Jansen and Debbie Cox see more litter in more places.

But on Monday they slowed their pace and did something about it, picking up trash through south side neighborhoods.

They started on South Kankakee Street near St. Rose Church, ridding the sidewalks of crushed aluminum cans, plastic water bottles, candy wrappers and long-abandoned face masks.

In short order they filled three garbage bags before regrouping for more. They kepted walking, traveling Baltimore Street to the Launching Pad, a busy highway stretch that yielded a gold mine, that is if you like to collect trash.

Among the more popular debris were plastic “shooter” bottles of alcohol.

“I never knew so many people drink those little bottles of Fireball,” Cox quipped.

For round three they returned with a wheelbarrow to the other highway going through town, Illinois 102, where the litter load was lighter.

They were glad to see when their sense of community cleanup became contagious. As they passed one homeowner’s house the lady came out and began picking up trash too.

They got thumbs-up and horn honks from passing motorists. But they weren’t out to earn praise.

“We had the free time to do it, we make it fun and if it improves our town a little bit we’re all for it,” said Jansen.

She said their next mission will be the city’s island parks where, despite available trash cans, people still litter.

“We have such beautiful parks I can’t understand why people do that?” Jansen said.

“Oh well, we can always use the exercise,” Meents chipped in. With an attitude like that it’s no wonder these joggers are so fit.