Big Shell Cleanup 2008 – “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty”

Big Shell Cleanup 2008 – “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty”

During the 13th Big Shell Beach Cleanup held March 8, 2008, 400 volunteers combed 13.7 miles of PINS beach bagging 115,500 pounds of trash. There was also a great quantity of debris too large to bag that included tires, construction materials and old appliances. Park officials estimated the total haul at between 65 and 70 tons. In terms of total weight of trash removed, this cleanup ranks as our greatest ever.

The really big news is that Big Shell Beach Cleanup has surpassed the 1-million pound mark. Through the work of our all volunteer force we have removed the grand total of 1,030,000 pounds of unsightly trash from our National Seashore beaches!

Although the morning temperature was a brisk 42 degrees, some volunteers arrived in open vehicles and I observed two volunteers in wheel chairs picking up trash, now that's dedication!

The organization of this event is always a great challenge to those who pitch in and help run it and I want to thank them for a great effort. I also want to recognize all of our wonderful sponsors; we could never do this without you.

First our media partners and sponsors for helping get the word out: Ron and Julie Behnke - Saltwater Angler. David Sikes - Corpus Christi Caller Times. Everett and Pam Johnson Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine. Time Warner Cable Media and CCA Texas Corpus Christi Chapter.

The folks who provided financial support, goods and services: Mr. Henry Perry and Ainsworth Trucking Company; Ruth Parr Sparks Foundation; Mr. Jim Mayo of Mayo Ranches; CCA Texas Corpus Christi Chapter and their president, Troy Adler; CCA Texas - Brush Country Chapter; Michael Laskowski of Trac-Work Inc.; TAMUK Anglers; Sunny Beaches Organization; Daniel Dain and Stephanie Benham of Domino's Pizza; CCA Texas Corpus Christi Chapter and Jay Gardner. Co-Organizer, Tyler Thorsen, of www.corpusfishing.com and board member of CCA Texas Corpus Christi Chapter, was as invaluable as always and so was long time friend, Ace Leal, the t-shirt man and another co-organizer. Mr. Joe Escoto, the new superintendent of PINS, and Cynthia Rubio of the Turtle Recovery Program spent the day likewise "walking the walk" in the work area and off-duty Park Ranger, Pat Donahue, who patrolled the area with a full first aid kit should problems occur.

We also want to thank Smartshield Sun Protection; H.E.B.; TEXMAPS.com; FishBites; Carsonmap.com; Gambler's Specialities Ink of Corpus Christi; and dear friends, Dr. David McKee, Ph.D. at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and businessman, Steve Naylor, of Round Rock continued their dedication to this worthwhile endeavor. Mr. Brian Hawkins of the "Texas Country Reporter" TV show filmed the entire event and a show on it will air in May.

The title of this report comes from my ol' military days, "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty." Throughout the event it kept running through my mind for I realized that was exactly what was happening right before my very eyes and I am overwhelmed with admiration for all of you. If that old saying comes true and, "what goes around really does come around," you've all bought some exceptionally good karma on this deal. You are my heroes.

Your friend and admirer,

Captain Billy L. Sandifer