Nearly 200 citizens compete in County, City collaborative clean up challenge Saturday
By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter
A true statement that can be made is that the streets, roads, ditches and right-of- ways in and around Okemah are cleaner this week in and around Okemah than they were last week.
Thatʼs true because of the communitywide effort of many citizens and city and county officials and staff during this yearʼs first Trash-Off event, which took place Saturday, April 6.
Almost 200 people showed up for the event, which came as a conclusionary culmination of a week-long trash-pickup promotion by the City of Okemah that had started April 1.
During the planning of the event, the City of Okemah and Associate District Judge Maxey Reilly — who had been planning a similar cleanup event for the whole county — decided to team up for the April 6 cleanup day.
That decision proved good as hundreds of people disbersed Saturday morning to streets and roads all over the county to pick up thrown out trash on the ground.
The day was set up as a competition. Everybody met Saturday morning at the Okfuskee County fair barn before getting started.
Different groups of individuals registered in teams and prizes were given away in different categories, such as team with most members, team that collected the most trash, a team spirit award and so on.
Team Simple Simonʼs won the Team Spirit Award, and, according to the cityʼs main planner of the event, Vicky Landers, also fed everyon that participated in the Trash Off.
Okemah Police Chief Ed “Skeeter” Smith put together a team called Team D.C., which took the prize for “Most Trash Picked Up,” picking up 89 full bags of trash off the streets.
According to a City of Okemah Facebook post, those 89 bags were picked up during a span of 21,424 steps or 11.5 miles walked during the trash-off event.
The team with the most members went to Team Trashy Cheer, who amassed 25 people on its team for that days event.
Lander put an official statement on Facebook following the event that said, in part, the following:
“The citizens of Okemah rock!!! Our first annual Okemah /Okfuskee Co. The Trash-Off was a HUGE SUCCESS!!!! 189 people showed up to pick up trash!!!!!”
Continuing, “We were totally blown away with the citizens and their desire to clean up our beautiful city and county,” Lander said. “It was a true testament to
your willingness to improve the perspective of Okemah to all who pass by or through our town.
“Again thank you to everyone who came out and volunteered to help each other out.
“A special thank you to Maxie Reilly, Sheriff Rasmussen, Chief Smith, Connie Reilly, Everett Smith, the City Of Okemah and to Simple Simonʼs!!!!!”
In all, the day saw the picking up of about 520 full bags of trash off, which made a significant difference, noticed by locals and passersby indefinitely.
City Manager Dustin Danker said of the trash-off event, “We worked on this thing for a couple months leading up to it, and I wanted it to make a significant impact on the trash that is thrown out and collects on our streets, roads, highways, ditches and right-of-ways.”
“It takes teamwork to accomplish a feat of over 500 bags of trash picked up, but we did it, and I think Okemah will be changed because of this event,” he continued. “It is high on my priority list to continue pushing for a cleaner city and for citizens to take pride in Okemah.
“Saturday, I saw almost 200 people taking pride in this place, and look at the difference it made. I thank all those that participated and the City of Okemah employees that worked so hard to see this event come together. Okemah is better today than before the trash-off week started, and that was the goal. Letʼs keep it that way.”