Cleaning up this town

Dozens of volunteers covered the fields and open areas along some of Fort Dodge’s busiest streets Thursday afternoon.

Around 110 volunteers from local organizations, the Fort Dodge Fire Department and Cargill came out for the seventh annual Foreign Object and Debris – FOD – Walk to help remove trash along Fifth Avenue South, 32nd Street and Second Avenue North near Walmart.

The field just east of Culver’s was noticeably filled with volunteers from Cargill wearing bright orange T-shirts; they were able to clear the area of litter in about 30 minutes before moving on.

“This is something all Cargill locations try to do,” said Cheri Miles, safety administrator for Cargill. “A lot of them get involved in community cleanup efforts. Probably 90 percent of our people out here today are the plant technicians. We have 60 to 70 of our employees here today.”

“They really get into helping out the community,” said Cargill employee David Erdy. “And you can’t complain about being outside on a day like this.”

Bob Marzean, also a Cargill employee, said he was impressed by the number of his co-workers who volunteered their time.

“Looks like a bunch of us decided to show up,” he said, “so this is great.”

Todd Jones came out with the Cargill team, but also brought a few extra helpers along. Kyla Thoma, 9; Connor Thoma, 8; and Kaden Jones, 6; were some of the youngest volunteers. They worked with Jones along the fenceline area behind Target.

“I thought it would be good for them, and they were really pretty excited about it,” said Todd Jones.

Kyla Thoma dug through her trash bag to find what she thought was the dirtiest item of the day and presented a mud-covered pop can.

“Yuck,” she said.

“I think one of them put up a bet that whoever found the grossest item would get 20 bucks,” said Todd Jones.

A total of 151 bags of trash and debris were collected in a city trash bin by the time all FOD walkers returned to the Walmart parking lot.

Originally, the FOD Walk had been scheduled for April 18, but was postponed because of weather. Rhonda Chambers, chairman of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Image Committee, said she was pleased with the number of volunteers Thursday.

“For a rescheduled event, the turnout was great,” Chambers said. “We got everything done in an hour. We couldn’t have done that without the participation of everyone.”