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Over 600 volunteers participated in a post wide cleanup Oct. 14 in support of Columbus' Help the Hooch, the Southeast's largest watershed cleanup event, centering around the Chattahoochee River.
The Fort Benning Directorate of Public Works organized the event to help bring awareness to the effects of pollution on the environment.
"Fort Benning Environmental Program is on the steering committee for Columbus' Help the Hooch," said Bryan Victor, lead watershed technician for the DPW. "Once we got involved there, we decided that we needed to do this on Fort Benning."
"We wanted to give the public knowledge about what pollution is and what it does to our river," said Victor. "We had 11 sites for people to clean up."
Victor wants people to know that we they put into the environment stays out there. "That is our legacy. The trash we put is going to be there for our grandkids and future generations. It doesn't go away."
"It's important to me because this is our world and it is up to us to preserve it," he added. "I want to say thanks to everyone who came out. This is my fourth year being involved and each year we collected less and less trash."
Spc. Dominik Stovall arrived at Russ Pond early to help with the cleanup.
"I thought it would be a good idea come and help out," he said. "I try to do what I can to give back to the community and it's important to stay eco-friendly."
Kindergarten through fifth grade students from Wilson Elementary School's Kid Care after school program also joined volunteers at Russ Pond to help with the clean up.
"We wanted to come out and help do our part to help save the environment," said Antoinette Pittman, the school counselor. "Before coming out, we spent time teaching the students about the Chattahoochee River's history."
The students also participated in Help the Hooch last year, she added.
"I like that we get to clean and help the environment," said Destiny Morales, a second-grader.
"I think it's really important to help the environment," added second-grader Xavier McClain. "I'm glad I got the chance to do it today."
"Today, I learned that's important to keep our environment clean because it doesn't just help the animals and wildlife," said Neveah D'Angelo, a fifth-grader. "It give us peace of mind when we come out and we don't have to worry about getting sick from a piece of trash or something."
"It's just about helping the environment, but the community as well," said Cornelius Marshall, a third-grader. "I really enjoyed helping pick up trash."