Volunteers turn out for annual Trash-Off

By PAMELA GRANT
Cove Leader-Press

Copperas Cove got just a bit more beautiful Saturday thanks to the efforts of several hardy volunteers.
More than 40 volunteers braved Saturday morning’s unpleasantly cold, wet, windy weather to participate in Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful (KCCB)’s Don’t Mess With Texas Trash-Off event. Volunteers gathered in the Copperas Cove Public Library parking lot before splitting up to clean an area along Business 190 across from Walmart and behind Gold’s Gym. They also removed graffiti at Heritage Park. 
The Don’t Mess With Texas Trash-Off was a Texas-wide event, with cities across the state participating.
“It’s cold outside, but my heart is very warmed to see that so many people care, and many care repeatedly,” said KCCB Executive Director Silvia Rhoads. “We can’t thank our volunteers enough.”
“I’m pleasantly surprised how many people showed up with this nasty weather,” said Ann Zeher, president of KCCB. “We’ve got a really strong group of volunteers.”
Zeher said events like the Trash-Off help bring the community and families closer together. There were several younger participants in Saturday’s event.
“We need to make Copperas Cove beautiful again, and that’s what NJHS does. We support our community,” said Grace Taylor (13). Taylor is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, and she and a few other members of the group helped with the trash pick-up.
Veronica Sheon, the adult NJHS sponsor, said it’s important to her that she help her students get out into the community to volunteer. 
“It’s disturbing how many cigarette butts there are by this gas thing,” said Veronica Sheon as she picked up trash outside the Atmos Energy fence on Business 190.
Sheon and her NJHS students were volunteering with KCCB for the first time Saturday, but they hope to volunteer with them again in the future.
Many of the volunteers felt strongly about the importance of keeping the city cleaner.
“I just wanted to get out of the house and this is something I feel very strongly about,” said Melissa Zednick, who has volunteered with KCCB since 2008. “This gives people a first impression of the city, and if it’s trashy, what will they think of the city?”
Not only did Zednick and the other volunteers help make our city look better, they also helped protect animals that might otherwise ingest the litter. They help by leading by example and encouraging others to follow them in eliminating the buildup of garbage.
“I feel like we should make Copperas Cove beautiful and keep it that way,” said Siggi Loe. “I feel like we should all do our part. If everyone pitched in and took care of their own little area, this wouldn’t be a problem.”
A number of large trash bags full of litter were collected, weighing 260 pounds in total. After the Trash-Off, 20 of the volunteers met at Heritage Park for a hotdog lunch provided by KCCB.
Those interested in participating in a future KCCB event have the opportunity to do so with the group’s Waterway Cleanup on Saturday, May 5. Volunteers will meet at the Copperas Cove Public Library at 9 a.m.

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