To the people who pick up the trash by the side of the road

Can we give it up, please, for Rick Oglesby, of North Mankato, Minn., and all the people like him who usually get no public credit for what they do each day?

They’re the type to pick up your trash along the side of the road.

Fortunately, Oglesby gets the notice of the Mankato Free Press today.

For almost two years, Oglesby has walked along roads and through city parks cleaning up garbage and beautifying public property throughout North Mankato. He spends much of his time during the week on the prowl for errant trash, whenever he can squeeze a walk into his schedule.

“I love being outdoors, and I thought well, it’s a good way to get my exercise,” he said. “And there’s no timetable for when you have to do it, so it’s kind of just a pleasant walk with a bag.”

Oglesby is 70, and he was looking for a hobby after he retired. He volunteered on a school bus and noticed all the trash along the road on his route.

He called the public works department in North Mankato and they gave him a vest and a bag.

He finished cleaning up the street, so he tackled another one. And one after that.

It’s surprising what people will throw away, according to Oglesby. Aside from the regular sorts of garbage — paper, cans, bottles, etc. — he’s found cellphones, drug pipes and even a wrapped-up cowhide once.

“The trash keeps reappearing, and I’m sure I’m picking up bottles from 10 years ago,” he said. “After the snow’s gone, the trash starts coming up, or the squirrels keep digging it up.”

He’s got big plans now, the paper says. He wants to start cleaning up along highways.