By Dedra Cordle
Forty-five minutes into a community cleanup with the local Boy Scout Troops, Dylan Steele was done for the day.
“Ugh,” he exclaimed as he waded through the streams around Grove City. “When does this end?”
From the brambles around the creek, his grandmother Rebecca gave him some bad news.
“It’s only 9:45,” she said. “We have two more hours, at the least.”
A long-suffering groan could then be heard coming from the water. Rebecca had an inkling this day might be a challenge.
“He didn’t want to get out of bed,” she said with a laugh.
After a long week at school and playing in a football game, Dylan looked forward to a Saturday morning full of sleep, but Rebecca was having none of that.
“I told him he was coming today,” she said.
Rebecca gives him some leeway when it comes to community service events with Troop 136 because of his busy school schedule, but she said this environmental cleanup of the watershed on Oct. 18 was too important to miss.
“It helps the city and it helps the boys,” she said.
Around 7 that morning, she drove Dylan to the First Presbyterian Church on Broadway for a pre-cleanup breakfast for some much-needed energy. Then, she got together with several other scouts and made their way to the creek that snakes around the Kmart building on Stringtown Road.
Initially, Rebecca, a former Girl Scout, thought she would join some of the scouts in picking up trash in the water, but changed her mind when Dylan took her good cleanup boots.
“I think I’m too old to be going down to the creek,” she said while picking up a large, deteriorated drinking cup that was caught in a few branches near the edge of the parking lot.
“I’ll let the younger ones do it.”
At first, Dylan, who was slightly hesitant to get in the water, decided to stick to the dry, thick slope that surrounds Republican Run. Upon stumbling in, he decided to stay and explore.
While in the water, he and fellow scout Caleb Porter found common pieces of trash – old papers, aluminum cans and cups. But as they made their way downstream, they discovered shopping carts and lots of them.
“How did a shopping cart get all the way down here?” asked Porter.
Their scoutmaster, Kirk Bohanan, guessed that the wind blew them to the creek.
Some shopping carts stragglers were easy to remove but one was embedded so deep into the embankment that the scouts – who were now starting to enjoy the cleanup – had to do something they normally do not do: give up.
“We would be here all day trying to get this out,” said Porter.
Fortunately for Porter, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, his cleanup efforts were cut short when he accidentally waded into high waters and was soaked despite wearing protective clothing.
Unfortunately for Dylan, or fortunately for the city and the watershed, his day was not finished yet, but he was promised McDonald’s for his efforts. The trash from that venture will go where it belongs.
In total, 97 volunteers – scouts, adult supervisors and the Keep Grove City board – collected 4,400 pounds of trash from Republican Run, which flows into the Scioto River.
Linda Rosine, the environmental coordinator for the Grove City Parks and Recreation department, said they could not have completed such a task without the help of the local Scouts.
“They are an outstanding partner for the city and we couldn’t do this (watershed cleanup) without them,” she said.