2023 March 29, Wednesday
On a stretch of highway near Blair, Nebraska, Di Wright and her two children are on a mission to clean up their community, one piece of litter at a time. In an era where environmental consciousness is more important than ever, Di and her family are taking matters into their own hands and inspiring others to do the same.
The story began in 2018 when Di and her children, Nahlia and Maverick, participated in a highway cleanup through their church, Country Bible Church (now Reach Church). It was this experience that ignited their passion for community service and environmental stewardship. As Di recalls, “My kids were eager to do it again! They saw the impact we had on the community when we cleaned it, and I wanted to encourage that love of service.”
When the church stopped sponsoring the two-mile stretch of highway due to a lack of volunteers, Di took it upon herself to carry on the work. In June 2020, they adopted the highway under the name “God’s Helpers” and committed to organizing cleanups twice a year. Di points out the simplicity of the adoption process, saying, “It’s easy to adopt a highway. I searched the internet and found that anyone can adopt. It doesn’t have to be a business or organization like I originally thought.”
Safety is a top priority for Di and her team of volunteers. The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) provides safety signs, vests, and collection bags for the cleanups. Di emphasizes the importance of holding a safety meeting before each event, explaining that “it’s important that a safety meeting is conducted prior to any highway cleaning done so everyone knows how to be safe before and during highway cleaning.”
Despite the challenges of recruiting volunteers, Di remains committed to her cause. She initially sought help through her personal social media and later expanded her outreach to public forums. “Volunteers are extremely hard to find,” Di admits, but she also sees the potential for businesses and groups of people to become involved. “The most successful way to do this is if a business or group of people are dedicated to maintaining it together,” she says.
Di’s highway cleanup efforts provide a valuable opportunity for high school students. As she notes, “It is also a great way for high school students to serve the community before they go off to college.”
Di’s determination to beautify her community and instill a love of service in her children is a testament to the power of grassroots environmental action. Through their hard work, Di and her family are not only cleaning up their corner of Nebraska but also inspiring others to take charge of their communities and make a difference.
Local resident, Denise Grieco wrote, “I’ve been participating in this event for the past year. It is so rewarding to help my friends, and my community, in keeping Blair a clean & nice place to live. Please join us, the more the merrier.” (Source: Facebook Comment)
And, in a world where environmental issues often take center stage, Di Wright’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the impact one person can have on their community and the world. As she and her family continue their quest for a cleaner future, their message of hope, perseverance, and service will undoubtedly inspire others to join them in their fight for a better tomorrow.
On Saturday, April 22, 2023, beginning at 9 a.m., a dedicated group will assemble to clear litter from a stretch of highway. Join Di in volunteering your time at mile marker 116-118. This section of the highway extends from the MCH Blair Hospital, heading north up to the county road where the turnoff for Reach Church is located. Your participation will make a significant difference in our community. (Email Di Wright for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) oversees the Adopt-A-Highway program in the state, which allows individuals and groups to adopt stretches of highways for litter control. Participants in the program agree to clean their adopted sections of the highway at least twice a year. In return, NDOT provides safety equipment, supplies, and recognition in the form of a sign displaying the adopter’s name.