Volunteers Not Afraid to Get Their Hands Dirty on MLK Day

Amherst Co, VA - Some folks decided to spend their MLK Day holiday in Amherst County fishing tires out of Stovall's Creek.

Governor Bob McDonnell called on Virginians to remember Martin Luther King Jr. as a man of positive action, and encouraged them to volunteer.

The James River Association gathered volunteers to clean out tires that had been illegally dumped in a creek just upstream from the James.

"It's a combination of beer and mud, so it smells delightful," said volunteer Meghan Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald, 15, is a student at EC Glass High School. She decided to use her day off Monday to get to work.

"I really like the outdoors and hiking so I want to keep it good for generations to come," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald and fellow volunteers found a lot more than just tires.

"It's really disgusting," she continued.

Pat Calvert is the Upper James River keeper for the JRA.

"It's a shame," Calvert said. "It's my job to be the eyes and ears and the voice of the river. The river doesn't say hey go ahead and get rid of those tires dump them on me, I'll take care of them. So, we have to speak for the river."

Calvert was recently notified by local landowners that roughly 50 tires had been dumped in Stovall's creek.

JRA's goal is to one day make the James, tire free.

"Don't dump them in our waters, this is the drinking water source for an awful lot of people down stream," Calvert said.

City manager Kimball Payne helped with the cleanup Monday.

Bridgestone Americas Inc. collected the tires and will properly recycle them as part of their community clean-up program.