Last April, when the city held its city-wide volunteer clean-up, 68-year-old De Queen resident Jen Arnold had to miss it as she was participating in her first 5k race.
Disappointed to not have been involved in the clean-up, Arnold, who walks as many as eight miles a day, made the decision to begin picking up trash on her own while doing her walks.
She began with the blocks surrounding her home on Gilson, collecting trash until she pretty much had the trash problem on those streets under control. She then began expanding her collections and now has daily routes she takes so that each area gets a pickup once a week.
“When I walked I saw so much trash and I thought, ‘this is a horrible thing,’” she said. “The first time I picked up trash it took a long time because there was so much of it.”
While she walks both mornings and evenings (until recently she took three walks a day), her typical weekly morning walks begin with Mondays four mile walk over to Ninth Street, down to Coulter Ave. west to Treating Plant Road, down to the 13th house on the left and then back grabbing garbage on the right side of the road.
On Tuesdays she takes another four mile walk turning right on Ninth, left on W. Locke Ave., then on to Chapel Hill Road to Ricky Parson’s mailbox and then back.
On Wednesdays, she walks a three miles on the football stadium track.
On Thursdays, she takes a three-mile walk down Stilwell, Gilson and Wallace, covering those blocks between 9th Street and 4th Street, on both sides of the blocks.
On Friday she walks two miles wherever she’s in the mood to travel.
On Saturday, she walks two miles down Stilwell to the light on 41 and back.
On Sunday she walks two miles up to 9th Street to Collins, then back down to Pilgrims, heading south on 4th Street and walking down to 41.
She also walks with her sister-in-law in the afternoons in the Chapel Hill area, picking up trash, giving her sister-in-law a chance to keep up with her on the walk.
While she began her quest to clean up De Queen in April, she was slowed for a time by an illness, but she recovered and has been consistent since late May.
“I pick it up every week and leave it for my garbageman,” she said. “Once I do an initial pickup, it’s not so bad after that.”