ELLENTON — Plastic garbage cans lined the quiet streets in Shadow Brook Mobile Home Park on Tuesday, but Clyde Sandidge kept his self-appointed rounds picking up litter.
“Every street,” neighbor Walt Dombowski said.
“Every day,” said Doris Bennett, the park activities treasurer.
Every day save Sunday for Sandidge, who worships at First Baptist Church of Palmetto.
For seven years now, six days a week, at least 90 minutes daily, he’s out there, plastic bags in hand.
Not just inside Shadow Brook, but along both swales of Ellenton-Gillette Road and 69th Street East that border the community.
“I quit smoking and was gaining a lot of weight, so I started walking,” said Sandidge, a two-pack-a-day Marlboro man for 11 years. “Then I saw this was getting messy, so I started picking up garbage along here.
“It’s better than sitting and watching TV, it keeps my weight off and gives me a sense of civic pride. I meet a lot of people, too. A little extra effort pays off.”
Tuesday’s efforts produced two small bags for the park’s clubhouse trash can.
The haul included a Styrofoam McDonald’s iced tea cup, KFC meal box, Night Crawlers Gummi Candy wrappers, shards of a broken CD and an empty pint bottle for Christian Brothers brandy.
“If I do this every day, I have very little to pick up. But if you wait a week?” Sandidge said.
“I wish people really thought about throwing garbage onto the road.”
People think a lot of him.
“He’s so conscientious. A nice fellow, too,” neighbor Clyde Redmond said.
“A lot of people walk down the street and won’t pick up something that’s in their front yard, but he keeps it neat and clean,” Dombowski said.
“Everybody knows who he is and what good he does,” Bennett said.
That includes Gary Dziubek, who lives across the road at Arbor Creek and while walking his dog has seen Sandidge on patrol.
It even inspired him.
“The roadside always looks clean because of his efforts,” Dziubek said. “Because of his actions, I’ve been cleaning the area around our retention ponds.”
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or email him at email@example.com. Please include a phone number for verification.