SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Roll up your sleeves and get dirty to help get the Black River clean! The all-volunteer Black River Action Team invites everyone to grab their favorite work gloves and lend a hand during the annual cleanup event.
Sign in at the HQ table after 8 a.m. at Riverside Middle School on Fairground Road in Springfield, Vt. Pick a site to clean and grab a buddy and a few trash bags courtesy of American Rivers. Return to the HQ table by 11 a.m. to pose for the camera with your “loot,” wash up in the nearby bathroom, and enjoy a complimentary lunch of chips from Deep River Snacks and a hot dog grilled to perfection by the fine folks of the Springfield Calvary Baptist Church. Tee shirts by Clever Cow Designs will be made available to all volunteers as BRAT’s “thank you” to everyone for their hard work.
BRAT Director Kelly Stettner recalls Sept. 11, 2001. “I felt so helpless and directionless here in Vermont while so many were struggling with the shock, trauma, and devastation of the terrorist attacks happening hundreds of miles away. What could I do, how could I help?
“Like most Americans that day, I was reeling, sickened and numb. One of my co-workers who had helped me the year before with the very first cleanup quietly asked me, ‘So are we gonna do that river thing again?’ What a perfect opportunity for me to focus myself on helping in some way, on providing a venue for people to do good, to make a difference. So we did!
“I advertised for a little more help; Steve Aikenhead of Weathersfield got wind of the project and recruited a crew of high school students, and I found a few more co-workers and other volunteers to lend a hand. We hauled some 75 shopping carts out of the Black River that second year… and the determination to do something positive was the fuel we needed.”
Stettner continues, “RiverSweep always falls on the Saturday after Labor Day Weekend; this year, that happens to be 9/11. In honor of that coincidence of events, and as a reminder that we are each of us a force for good in our community and our country, I asked Clever Cow Designs to add a special logo to one sleeve of this year’s tee shirts to honor the memory of the tragic events that occurred 20 years ago. I find that it motivates me to remember that we can all make a positive difference in our own little corner of the world…even if it’s just cleaning up a river.”
To learn more about BRAT, visit www.blackrivercleanup.wixsite.com/blackriveractionteam. Reach out via email at email@example.com. Messages may be left at 802-738-0456 and donations can be mailed to BRAT, 101 Perley Gordon Rd, Springfield VT 05156.