ROCKINGHAM, Vt. – What originally started out as a plan to collect Toys-4-Tots for area children in need during the holidays, quickly evolved into a concerted effort to remove many years of illegal dumping from the trails in the town of Rockingham, Vt.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, a group of 4×4 enthusiasts based out of Connecticut, who call themselves the Northeast Flatlanders, organized a meetup of fellow outdoor enthusiasts, to gather in Windham County and team up with the Vermont State Police to deliver truckloads of new, unwrapped toys to needy families. Early morning snowfall and cold temps greeted the nearly 40 assorted 4×4 Jeeps, Toyotas, and Land Rovers that hailed from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, all carrying toys for the cause. After an hour of coffee, handshakes, and conversations, a total of three Vermont State Trooper cruisers were stuffed to their limits with donated toys.
In an added effort to give back to the local community, the Northeast Flatlanders had contacted the Vermont Game Warden’s office to discuss cleaning up illegal dump spots in the surrounding woods. As 4×4 drivers and outdoor enthusiasts, the NEF off-road club had been disheartened by the amount of garbage they had seen while driving on Vermont’s scenic Class IV roads. The group was alerted to a location in Rockingham that had been the site of many years of dumping and neglect. After arranging to have a dumpster delivered nearby, the group moved into position and got to work. Collectively, they were able to haul out over 150 discarded car tires, several TV sets, mattresses, couches, and small mountain of broken snowmobile parts.
The Northeast Flatlanders would like to thank all of the volunteers that came out to deliver toys and lend a hand in the massive clean-up effort. They would also like to extend a debt of gratitude to LT. French and his fellow troopers from the Westminster Barracks for helping distribute the donated toys, as well as Vermont Game Warden Isherwood for speaking to the group and coordinating the clean-up location. Also, a big thank you to Michael Hindes with the Rockingham Town Garage for his assistance.
For more information, please contact Aaron Mathew of the Northeast Flatlanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Jake Kalnenieks, NEF member.