Stapp helps organizes cleanup, peace walk

By Drew Chittick bradenandrewc@gmail.com
Posted 7/27/20

MARSHALL — On July 17, Paris native Phil Stapp organized a cleanup of Blizzard Ford, just off state Route 1 in Clark County.

“About a year ago, [my family] started taking walks and …

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Stapp helps organizes cleanup, peace walk

Posted

MARSHALL — On July 17, Paris native Phil Stapp organized a cleanup of Blizzard Ford, just off state Route 1 in Clark County.

“About a year ago, [my family] started taking walks and picking up trash as we went,” Stapp said. “One time we filled a 13-gallon bag in seven or eight blocks.”

From there, he expanded the operation to a city-wide cleanup in Paris in cooperation with Be the Change and the Clark County Clean Recyclers.

“Single-shot Fireballs were the most common item,” he said. “Second were loose articles of clothing. And I was thinking, ‘who’s walking around with one sock on?’”

The Blizzard Ford cleanup was the latest of several, smaller events he has organized. The action came after his and his friends’ families complained about the trash at their favorite swim spot.

“Unless a human being comes out and picks it up, it’s never decomposing, it’s never going anywhere,” Stapp said. “I don’t want anyone’s kids stepping on something or getting hurt out here.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5975 in Marshall donated much of the ice, trash bags and gloves that were used, and Courtney Spencer, organizer of the Clark County Clean Recyclers, made sure to say the most important resource is volunteers.

“This is a community-driven thing,” she said. “You look at [the trash at Blizzard Ford] and think, ‘how can I do any of this on my own,’ we have to have a community or else we can’t do anything.”

Stapp also talked about events aside from the cleanups that he has helped to organize. “We were up on the square for five days after the George Floyd incident, I’ll just say there’s a difference between the Black Lives Matters movement and the organization,” he said. “We had two people ask where we were from because they thought we were an imaginary group of rioters from out of town. We also did a suicide prevention rally, it poured down rain the entire time.”

Stapp said he generally sees a positive response from the community.

“We did a peace walk as well,” he said. “Unlike the BLM protest where you had to have this mental shield against all the terrible things people said to you, people just honked and said nice things about us.”

One activity that failed to happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic was a concert to benefit the food pantry. Other possible events on his list are also dependent on the COVID developments.

“The only reason we’re out doing the Blizzard Ford cleanup is because it’s such an open place. And, of course, we can mask up if we can’t keep apart from each other,” he said.

The Clark County Clean Recyclers remain active.

“Marshall had considered getting rid of our recycling bin, it’s constantly full, so there’s a want and a need to have it,” Spencer noted.

Both Be the Change and the Clark County Clean Recyclers can be found on Facebook for contact and future events.