Airmen help clean up Clovis

USAF photo: Greg Allen More than 250 airmen from Cannon Air Force Base teamed with people from throughout the Clovis community to fill nearly 1,200 bags of trash in Saturday’s Great American Cleanup. One area the airmen focused on was U.S. Highway 60/84.

By Greg Allen, 27th SOW Public Affairs

A total of 252 airmen joined Clovis residents to pick up nearly 1,200 bags of trash weighing 94,000 pounds as part of Saturday’s Great American Cleanup.

This far exceeded the 120 volunteers from last year, and, according to Clovis Parks and Recreation Director Rob Carter, airmen from Cannon Air Force Base who volunteered their services made all the difference.

“Without his (Col. Timothy Leahy, 27th Special Operations Wing commander) assistance, and the support of the airmen from Cannon, the large turnout would not have been possible,” Carter said.

The 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group teamed with the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce to win the Golden Dumpster award for gathering more than 300 bags of trash.

Gold, silver and bronze mini-dumpsters are presented to the top teams in the cleanup.

Everyone gathered at a Clovis Parks and Recreation Department site at Fifth and Sycamore streets, and at 8 a.m. teams headed out to areas in Clovis and Curry County to pick up trash.

Some airmen, such as Senior Airman Orelia Buenrostro, 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron, made it a family event. Her son, 9-year-old Juan, picked up the trash while she held the bag.

“Butts, there’s too many cigarette butts,” he grumbled, as he continued filling the bag.

Airman Shelly-Ann Douglas, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron, with headphones clinging to her ears, methodically worked a trash-strewn field to fill her black trash bag,

“I’m here because I like to help people and the community” Douglas said.

“The number of airmen who stepped up to partner with our community was overwhelming,” said Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Longacre, 27th Mission Support Group superintendent. “Seeing the gratitude in the event organizers’ eyes was a very proud moment for me. I would like to pass on a huge thank you from Mr. Carter and (P.J.) Odegaard (also from the City Parks and Recreation Department). They were truly impressed.”

According to Longacre, the base and the city will again partner up in the summer in a “Clean the Corridor” campaign. During that event, airmen and residents will focus on the area from the Clovis city limits to Cannon’s front gate.