Airmen clean up community streets
By Tech. Sgt. Catharine Schmidt, 109th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 10, 2014
SCHENECTADY, New York -- More than 30 Airmen came together Aug. 10 to clean up the community, thanks to the efforts of the 109th Airlift Wing First Six Council and their initiative with the Adopt-A-Highway Program.
The First Six Council represents the junior enlisted of the Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base. The council's president, Senior Airman James Comstock, has been planning the Wing's involvement with Adopt-A-Highway for a little more than a year.
"We really want to get Airmen involved in portraying that the Air National Guard is here to support and help the community," he said. "What better way to do that than to have a bunch of us in ABUs cleaning up the streets."
According to its website, the Department of Transportation's Adopt-A-Highway Program was formalized in 1990 to "encourage individuals or groups to clean up highway roadsides and to recognize those volunteers who do. Participation in the program also fosters a sense of community ownership of the roadway as well as a sense of pride in the appearance."
Comstock got the idea for this program even before he was elected the council's president, and said he just ran with it. "As I started getting more and more people involved, the word got out and it kind of just snowballed from there."
Volunteers lined Freeman's Bridge Road, picking up trash and debris as they went along. With the large number of volunteers, from junior enlisted to wing leadership, the job didn't take long to do at all.
"This is a great way for us to do community outreach," said Tech. Sgt. John Albert, 109th Maintenance Group. "And it feels good to be out here doing this."
"This is a huge event for us," said Col. Shawn Clouthier, 109th AW commander. "It shows that we are part of the community that we're out in every day, and that we live in. We want the community to be a good place for everyone to live, and our Airmen out there cleaning up the highway is a good way to show support for the community. (The First Six Council) is doing great work for us as well as Schenectady and Scotia-Glenville."
"This is just another way our junior enlisted are making it happen," said Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th AW command chief. "It's another way for the entire Wing to show our support for the community, who consistently show their support for us."
Comstock said this will be an ongoing event and he and other volunteers will be out four times a year.
"As long as the garbage keeps piling up, we'll be here," he said.