VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK: Brad Eldridge is just doing his part
Published 8:00 am Sunday, August 28, 2022
This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteer of the Week is Brad Eldridge, a local business owner who picks up trash in the downtown area. Elridge is the owner of Parish Waterfowl Company in Downtown Vicksburg, which sells custom duck calls, coffee and outdoor items.
What made you want to start picking up trash around the area?
I started picking up trash because of all the traffic that would come in from the tourists, the boats and people that go to the restaurants and bars in the downtown area. The downtown area is trashed so bad on Friday and Saturday nights because of all the people that come out and just don’t pick up their trash.
What is the craziest thing you have found while picking up trash?
I think it is crazy when I find an entire meal. It’s one thing to find a cup or wrappers but I’ll find a bag full of food like fries, paper and everything.
How much of the area do you clean?
I started off doing it in (the 1100 block of Washington Street), but it’s like the most trashed areas are further up downtown where the restaurants and bars are located. Sometimes I go all the way down to the parking garage on Clay Street because people will park on the side and there would be trash all the way down the hill. Bryan Pratt also helps pick up trash and he has a grabbing claw. I just have a box of rubber gloves and a trash bag.
How long does it take to pick up trash around the area?
I can do it on Saturday and Sunday mornings and have a full bag of trash for both days and it usually takes me about 45 minutes to pick up all the trash.
What have you learned from this activity?
There was one weekend when I did a little test to see if the trash would get picked up, and there was a styrofoam container in the parking lot in the back corner so I left and didn’t pick up trash that weekend. But on Monday morning, I was driving by it and saw it smushed, so it had been sitting there all that weekend.
Bryan and I have talked about this before and think, well if we clean it up, it doesn’t matter who cleans it up as long as we can get this area looking good. People will notice that we take care of our city. People notice if they see a clean city just as much as they see a city with trash and for me, a clean city draws my attention.
I wouldn’t consider picking up trash as volunteer work but just helping out and doing my part. But I do volunteer for my daughter’s cross country team at her school and help out as the assistant coach. When I started picking up trash, I never set out to get notoriety for it.
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