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Speer: Bates an inspiration to keep area clean

August 17, 2012
Bill Speer - Editor/Publisher , The Alpena News

Sometimes we are pigs.

How else would you describe someone driving down the road who throws out a fast food container, pop bottle, or cigarette butt?

It's amazing the amount, and kinds of litter that dot our streets and sidewalks.

Don't believe me? Then I urge you to volunteer for an "Adopt-A-Highway" clean-up one month and you'll quickly discover the vast array of "treasure" that can be found. Unfortunately, litter comes in many shapes and sizes.

Thankfully, not all of us have resorted to grunts and grovel in the mud.

Some of us are more responsible, and respect God's creation around us.

Still others go even further, and are the real heroes of the environment.

And then there is William Bates, who is in a class all by himself.

Despite being wheelchair-bound, Bates has made it his personal crusade to rid the community of unsightly litter.

Many of us who have full use of our arms, legs and can navigate easily, find it too hard to bend over and pick up a discarded candy wrapper on the side of the sidewalk. We should be ashamed that Bates, who is confined to his motorized wheelchair, will do the job in our place.

Armed with a gadget that grapples items, along with a bag to put the litter into, Bates makes it his mission each day to keep the streets he travels clean.

Bates serves as an inspiration to all of us, and recently was recognized by the City of Alpena for his efforts each day. He certainly has not looked to his wheelchair as a handicap, but rather another tool to accomplish the task before him.

Generally speaking, our region makes a good impression with visitors, in large part due to its cleanliness.

But even with that, blemishes do appear now and again, and like it or not, many people still see no harm in pitching their waste out the window where it is "out of sight, out of mind."

In those times, thankfully, there still are people like Bates who come along and clean up after them. That shouldn't be the way things are done, but it is reality.

Bates deserves a medal, but seeks nothing for the role he has assumed in our community. He is a saint.

My hope is that his story inspires each of us to adopt our own little corners of the community to keep clean. Imagine then the impression we would leave to others.

 
 

 

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