On this first day of fall many volunteered their time for a little fall cleaning. About 150 people came out Saturday to collect garbage and debris from along the banks of the Missouri River.
"I think it's just a good thing to come and give back to the community,” said Trish Sheley, who gave her time and found some unusual items, including a bed sheet, near Omaha’s NP Dodge Park. "When you're picking up trash you kind of expect that there's going to be a lot of unusual things."
Others in her group found a folding chair along the bank. One young volunteer found not one, but two couch cushions. And more. "It's a bicycle wheel I found near the Missouri River,” said Trey Salistean, hoping his was the most unique item of the day. "It was amazing, it was in the bushes and I found it."
“We found four really good picnic tables when we were out when we scouted the river yesterday,” said Jeff Barrow, director of Missouri River Relief. “I mean really good, probably came out of a park, a lot of propane tanks, we found a rabbit hutch, there's just a lot of big, heavy debris out there."
Organizers said these volunteers weren't only making the river and its banks look nicer, they were making it safer. "Some of it can be toxic, it could be dangerous and it's just to keep the neighborhood clean,” said Barrow. “I don't like to have trash in my yard, so why would we want to have a trashy river?"
"It reminds me to be careful with what I do and try to remind others as well to take care of things,” said volunteer Mark McCune. Much of the trash was left over from last year's flooding. "The flood took everything up away from the river and normally they'd be a lot closer to the banks than we're finding this year,” added McCune.
There was a contest at the end of the day to see who could bring back the most unique or most valuable piece of trash. The huge bags of debris were left along the riverbank and will be collected by boat.