Cornwall residents assist in spring clean up of Highway of Heroes
TRENTON, Ont. — Several Cornwall volunteers took in the sunshine recently and rolled up their sleeves in order to clean up a portion of the Highway of Heroes during a second-annual Youth Day spring cleanup.
The team, made up of Laurie, Kieran, and Addie Kennedy, Sebastian Warner, Colleen McKoy, as well as Rachelle and Jacob Doth, travelled to Trenton in order to pick up litter along the stretch of Highway 401.
There were also youths from the Kingston and Harrington areas.
The Canadian government renamed the portion of the 401 to leading from Trenton to Toronto — which stretches for 172 kilometres — as the Highway of Heroes back in 2007, in order to honour Canadian soldiers and others killed in Afghanistan.
The idea of cleaning up the area began back in 2017, when for three weeks, Kerri Tadeu, retired Master Cpl. Collin Fitzgerald and Cpl. Nick Kerr, cleaned off the entire on- and off ramps along the 172-kilometre stretch.
This year, the many volunteers cleaned around the area of Glen Miller Road, which happens to be the starting point of the highway.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Rachelle Doth. “My son needed some volunteer hours for school and I thought what best way than to go volunteer for the Highway of Heroes.”
The two managed to fill a garbage bag each, within the morning. Considering another group had previously cleaned up the stretch of road, it showed how some drivers don’t mind throwing out their garbage onto the highway.
“It’s unbelievable the amount of trash that there was, but it’s an eye-opener for our youths to see how much of it accumulates on the side of the road,” she said. “It was the perfect day to do this though — it wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold. It was a great day for the kids to come out and do that.”
Yet it wasn’t just garbage picking that everyone did — Jacob even got the chance to meet the Silver Cross Mother Anna Loveman.
“He learned quite a bit from talking to her,” said Doth. “It was quite an honour for him to meet her. It was something different for him and I wanted him to do something with more meaning than just getting his volunteer hours done.”
The 14-year-old also got to meet with Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison.
This is the first time that both Rachelle and her son had undertaken such an activity, but it sure won’t be the last.
“He’s already looking forward to doing it again,” she said. “We’re both very eager.”