Making a Difference: Prattville man picks up trash as civic duty

Posted by: Bryan Henry - bio | email

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Harold Hammond has passion in his heart and war on his mind. Lacing up and zipping up his shoes and safety vest to do battle on litter in his neck of the woods.

"Everybody enjoys pleasant surroundings and a clean environment," said Hammond.

Simply put, Hammond picks up the trash. He does it 3 times a week. Hammond starts out of his neighborhood off Diane Drive in Prattville and from here:

"My two miles stretch starts from the sign to Interstate 65," said Hammond.

Two miles on Highway 14. We found Hammond running across the highway where the real, sweaty work begins on a hilly stretch of road.

Piece by piece Harold Hammond has been picking this part of 14 clean for 18 years. He started when the 'Adopt-A-Mile' anti-litter program was perhaps more popular than it is today. A chance to do something for the community, a chance to think and ponder.

"It gives me a chance to contemplate. I think about what's happened in my life and my family," said Hammond.

Harold Hammond is serious about this. Nothing escapes his eye. While we were interviewing him, he picked up another piece of trash without missing a beat.

Farther up Highway 14, Hammond keeps on picking up. Trash in one bag and cans in another.

"You can't let it frustrate you. You wish people were better educated and more responsible, but you can't let it get to you. Every now and then someone will stop and say 'thank you' for what you do," said Hammond, who is retired from two careers.

Picking up the trash hasn't always been a smooth road for Harold Hammond. He's gotten a few derogatory comments as well.

"One said, 'hey, get a job!,' Hammond recalled.

But Hammond treats that like some people treat litter. He throws it out the window and looks ahead.

At 68 Hammond averages around 1,200 miles a year, step-by-step.

"I'm stronger now than I was 30 years ago," he said. "People often misunderstand my purpose."

Harold Hammond knows he'll never stomp out litter altogether yet 3 times a week he'll keep doing his part to keep his corner of the world a little cleaner.

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