Jefferson Award Winner Picks Up Trash Along Russian RiverBy Sharon Chin

CLOVERDALE (KPIX 5) Friends of this week’s Jefferson Award winner say he walks the extra mile to keep the Russian River clean.

Casey Carr are his friends discover an illegal dumping site in Cloverdale. They dig out a mattress, then uncover tires, couches, and a refrigerator.

Carr cleans up along the Russian River three to four times a week for hours at a time.

“I’ve hauled off 27,000 pounds total since the first of January,” said Carr.

Finding garbage under the First Street Bridge inspired Carr’s volunteer efforts.

He brought his family to the spot to swim when they moved to Cloverdale three years ago.

“And it was just trash everywhere,” he recalled. “I said, ‘Whoa, it doesn’t look like fun at all.'”

So he took action.

“I just grabbed a garbage bag and started picking it up,” he said.

At first, he walked along the river alone, before or after his shift as a butcher. From cartons and cans to couches, he’d haul the waste to the landfill. And he would pay the disposal fees. It cost $10 a tire and up to $40 apiece for appliances.

It’s worth it.

“We use the water, the animals use the water, the plants use the water. It’s the number one life source,” he said.

Today, Carr partners with the Clean River Alliance in Sonoma County. Together, volunteers collect trash, and its sponsor covers the landfill disposal costs.

The nonprofit’s founder Chris Brokate commends Carr for convincing some homeless encampments to bag thousands of pounds of their own trash and leave it for him to pick up.

He’s got a great attitude, sense of humor, just a good man all around,” said Brokate. “He’s got a good heart.”

Rain or shine, and even on holidays, Carr collects what others throw away and posts what he finds on social media.

His dedication amazes friends like Jason Mishou.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him taking a vacation,” said Mishou. “He does inspire me a lot..”

When Carr played in the river as a child in Healdsburg, he says he was taught, “Whatever you pack in, you pack out.”

Today, he and his wife teach their eight children the same respect for the environment. Sometimes they accompany Carr as he cleans up along the river.

So for his commitment to keeping the Russian River clean, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Casey Carr.

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