Meet Bill Gondrez, aka Mr. Bill. Bill is a pre-school teacher in Aurora Public Schools who moonlights as a trash vigilante in his off-hours. I first met Bill when he came to one of our Flourish East Colfax Neighborhood Meetings to present the Blockmeister Program. Following Bill’s presentation, ROP and several of our neighbors signed up as Blockmeisters with the primary responsibility of keeping the trash picked-up around our homes, buildings and streets. In our neighborhood, this is an ongoing challenge and clearly not a current priority for many of our neighbors, but our hope is that, as our neighbors see their neighbors picking up trash in front of their homes, they might choose to join us in making our community a trash free environment. And although this often feels like a very long-term goal, a wonderful by-product of doing this on a regular basis is that we have more opportunities to engage with and get to know more of our neighbors, which is a very good thing.
But back to Mr. Bill. While the Blockmeister Program is a good solution for all the plastic bottles, pop cans, fast food wrappers and other small stuff that litters our streets, it provides no answers for the mattresses, couches, tires, shelving, pallettes and other big stuff that clutters the sides of alleys throughout northwest Aurora. Most people just complain about this junk, but not Mr. Bill. Through Flourish East Colfax, Bill applied for and received a $2,000 grant from the Stapleton Foundation to clean-up the big trash in Northwest Aurora’s alleys – well maybe not all of the alleys. But beginning in June and on one Saturday a month, Bill rents a truck, fills it with the “big stuff” and takes it to the big public dump east of E470. If Bill could do it by himself, he probably would, but the “big stuff” takes two people. So several of our Flourish East Colfax neighbors/participants, including yours truly, have had an opportunity to partner with Mr. Bill in this worthy endeavor, and we will continue doing so, one Saturday morning a month, until the money runs out.
There were other things I could have done this past Saturday morning, but I am glad I chose to spend a few hours taking a load of trash to the dump and making our community just a little nicer. Along the way we had the opportunity to meet a few more people, tell them what we are doing and directly or indirectly encourage them to be a part of cleaning up our community. The big bonus is it gave me some quality time to get to know Mr. Bill a little better. I thank God for him and all those who are working to make our community a better place to live and work.
P.S. I am thankful to report that we raised almost exactly the amount needed to complete the purchase of back packs and supplies needed to provide these items to all 490 students at Crawford Elementary, which will happen on August 2nd.
P.S.S. Pedal 4A Purpose 2018 is just two months away on Saturday, September 22nd. Click here for more information or to register. And be sure to invite others to join you in this fun event which provides much needed funding for ROP’s ministy and other partnering non-profits.