News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, Sept. 7, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- They called it an "opportunity" to climb knee deep in the mud of the Savannah River and pull out anything and everything that didn't belong there.
"Yesterday we pulled a mountain bike out of the river, clothes, shoes, little kids' toys. We just pulled a big insides of a lightbulb out," said Fort Gordon Warrant Officer Mike Facemire.
All those things should definitely not be on the shores of the Savannah River. Now, thanks to these 14 soldiers, the trash is gone.
"We're not here very long, some of us nine months, some of us three months. I'm only here three months this time, so it gives us an opportunity to see the community, be out in the community, away from the base, and have some fun doing it," Facemire said.
"The city benefits greatly from the work that these soldiers do," said Riverkeeper Science Adviser Frank Carl. "These guys aren't afraid to get to get wet or to get dirty."
It was two days of hard, grunt work in the Augusta heat and humidity, but these guys aren't complaining.
"Oh yeah, we're having a good time! We're having fun. We joke around about it, tease each other. Oh, did you lose your shoes?" Facemire said.
"The attitude, the attitude is great. They want to help. It's a different experience for them, rather than being out on Bivouac or training at the Fort," Carl said.
Commissioner Matt Aitken even showed up to say thank you.
"A lot of people are takers, and I think when we can be givers -- it just adds to who you are. It adds to the community, and it benefits people that can come down here and enjoy the Riverwalk," Aitken said.
The Riverwalk isn't just for the locals. It's a big draw for guests coming into the city, too.
"There are hotels along the Riverwalk, and they enjoy walking on the Riverwalk, so the introduction of many visitors to the city is the Riverwalk," Carl said. "It's important to have it looking good, and it's important to keep it up."
The city picks up the piles of trash the soldiers make. What they gathered up Thursday was already gone by Friday morning.
Carl said he appreciates all the work they did because it will also help keep the water cleaner. He also says these guys are great role models for the rest of the community.