By Michelle Dupler
For more than 20 years Bob Shyrigh has laced up his walking shoes and traveled the half-mile stretch of Big Run Road East picking up garbage.
He began the trek from his house to Gantz Road just for exercise, but the trash on the road bugged him. Shyrigh said he started carrying a bag and grabbed the burger wrappers and soft drink cups he found.
“Once I found a safe dumped in the creek,” Shyrigh said.
His neighbors noticed Shyrigh’s effort to improve their street. Neighbor Sue Feyh nominated the 70-year-old Franklin Township resident for the Juanita Kaufman Award earlier this year.
He received the award at the National Night Out celebration at Finland Middle School on Aug. 6.
“It was a complete surprise. It’s just the things you do. I love that road,” Shyrigh said.
The award was created six years ago in honor of township resident Kaufman, who is known for her dedication in reducing crime and improving the quality of life in the community, according to township officials.
“We decided to name it in honor of Juanita Kaufman since she was and continues to be the ultimate example of the type citizen that we want around our township,” said trustee Tim Guyton.
Kaufman stood with Shyrigh during the ceremony as he accepted a plaque from Guyton and trustees Don Cook and Paul Johnson.
“I’m happy that he got it,” Kaufman said.
The trustees felt Shyrigh’s effort was deserving of recognition with this year’s award, according to Guyton.
Shyrigh said he collects trash year-round when the weather allows. He walks in the morning just after rush hour, but early enough to remain cool in the summer. His motivation is simple.
“I don’t especially like walking past trash,” he said.
Feyh said he sets a good example for other residents.
“If there was one person doing what Bob does on every street in the township, we would have the most trash-free and attractive township in the state,” she wrote in her nomination. “It’s a big job and a personal commitment for him.”