Day of service

Group tackles trash in the Arroyo Creek as part of Obama's call to action on MLK Day

Linda Lamson's home abuts the Centennial Trail that runs along Arroyo Creek. The trail is not only frequented by her family but many others who live in Del Prado. Tired of looking at one particular piece of trash--a moldy shopping cart with two of its wheels protruding from the creek waters--Lamson decided she'd had enough and was going to do something about it.

"It actually looks a lot worse in the summer time because the water recedes," Lamson said as she stood on a hillside embankment. "I just thought, I've looked at it so many times when I've been walking my dog."

She, her two children and their friends donned kitchen gloves and successfully retrieved the metal cart from the creek, pushing it up the hillside where it would later be taken away to the dump.

All in one morning's worth of work.

It was the first time Lamson had participated in a local cleanup, going nearly waist-deep into the cold, stagnant water, but not the first time she's volunteered. She spent two years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Peace Corps.

Lamson recruited at least a dozen other people to help her in a creek cleanup as part of President Barack Obama's call to action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the civil rights leader's passion for community service. Obama, who spent Monday participating in various service events, including visiting a homeless shelter for teens in Washington, D.C., has said he wants public service to be a theme of his presidency.

"I think people are really ready to step up and help," Lamson said. "I felt Obama's call to action."

She was joined by Karen Pico, whose husband, former mayor Tom Pico hauled the shopping cart into his truck. Karen Pico said she supported the president's call for citizens to be a part of a national effort to help heal the fallout from the country's crippled economy.

"There was this overwhelming need to contribute in any way we can," Karen Pico said. "We're in such a challenge right now. If we're going to get out of this mess, this is the way to do it."

Also part of the group cleanup were Art Tenbrink and Pat Griffin, who were members of Friends of Kottinger Creek, which advocated for the restoration and preservation of the creek.

One of Tenbrink's first pieces of trash was a partially filled beer can, which he fished out of the bushes, emptied and tossed in Griffin's awaiting plastic bag. Other volunteers included ladies from the unofficial "Middle-aged Women's Book Club."

The event was organized through


Like this comment
Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm

This is easily one of the best examples of putting words in to action. You don't have to invent a cure for global warming, just clean up your backyard a bit.

What a great way to set an example.

Like this comment
Posted by Grace
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm

This is great to hear; that someone did organize an event in keeping with the president-elect's National Day of Service. I wish the particulars had been posted earlier(?) on the website I had cited, since I had been checking daily from Friday until this morning (Monday) and never saw this listed, nor had I seen ANY advance notice in the Pleasanton Weekly so that more citizens could have joined this effort. I do hope that the spirit of community volunteerism continues, and that the Pleasanton Weekly (Jeb Bing, please! as well as other reporters) do make the effort to publicize these events BEFORE THE FACT, as some had requested, so that we can all join in and help out.

Like this comment
Posted by Volunteer
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2009 at 8:09 am

FYI: It is OK to do volunteer work on any day in the future too. You can do it alone or in a group, with or without recognition. Make a plan to continue these good efforts...

Like this comment
Posted by Maia Rei
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Awesome!!! =)

Like this comment
Posted by Ray &Judy Knapik
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Who was it that said,"all words and no deeds is like a garden full of weeds" ? Well, you won't find many weeds in Linda Lamson's garden. She is a doer of good deeds. Always has been and probably always will. We are very proud of Linda and the group of doers who tackled the Arroyo Creek trash. Go President Obama and the USA.
Love, mom & dad in Ballston Spa, New York

Like this comment
Posted by Anni
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm

You Rock! Way to go Linda and group.

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