|A group of Air Force recruits joined local|
residents and volunteers in removing a ton of
trash, litter and debris from the Haven Road
area of Windham on Saturday, April 24.
On Saturday evening April 24, a small number of Windham neighbors and residents were brought together to clean up the Haven Road surrounding area. Unexpectedly, one of their peers brought in the big guns.
Haven Road, located off Route 302 and next to Highland Lake, has a small trash problem that one of the residents is adamant on fixing. Sue Turner has been living on Haven Road for 17 years after moving to Windham from Portland and said that there have been issues with people throwing trash and dumping unwanted items in the woods in that area.
Because of COVID-19, this issue has mushroomed into a massive problem and, not to mention, an eyesore.
"There has always been a problem with people throwing trash, bottles and other debris next to the road or dumping things into the woods." Turner said. "But since COVID started, it became more noticeable to me as I walk the neighborhood more frequently than before."
The goal was not only to make the area nicer without the trash that was collecting on the side of the road, but for Turner to fully meet neighbors she had never chatted with before and had only given friendly waves to.
She had not expected SSgt. Alex Hutzley of the United States Air Force to be living so close by and fully willing to help out, along with him bringing some trainees with him to help in the process.
Hutzley, a member of the Air Force for nine years and a Staff Sergeant for the past three years, is the lone Air Force recruiter for all of Southern Maine. Despite this, Hutzley makes a big impact in the community and strives to get himself and his recruits doing various means of community service.
On April 24, there were 20 volunteers who were ready to start the cleanup process, including eight local residents and 12 U.S. Air Force recruits. It took them two hours to get everything done, but the clean result was well worth it.
"We picked up around two pick-up trucks worth of trash, including tarps, a grill, and other debris. Plus, we had two bags of bottles." Turner said.
Hutzley made an approximate guess as to how much trash that the crew removed from the area.
"My best guess for weight is 2,000 pounds of trash. We pulled over 300 cans and bottles, returning them as well," he said.
The Air Force recruits not only assisted in the cleanup, but also offered to dispose of it all as well. With the kindness from the trainees and the Haven Road community members who got their hands dirty, they can now proudly look out and no longer see trash littered outside their doors.
Hutzley said that the recruits volunteer for events like this often for southern Maine communities and charities, and last month cooked 600 meals in Portland for the homeless and spent time volunteering at the Florence House women's shelter.
"Southern Maine's future airmen will continue to be involved in the community and give back" said Hutzley.
Hopefully, Haven Road will stay clean from trash and debris for a long time. There are no future plans for another event of cleaning up.
However, Turner said that if another cleanup was needed in the future that she was willing to do it again. <