PLEASANT GROVE – It is a never ending job. Even on a holiday, Ken Winn is at work.
"Well my wife will tell you I don't hardly sit down,” he said. "She's home watching the football game, I think, and I'm out here doing this."
Mr. Winn was collecting litter in Pleasant Grove as the Dallas Cowboys played their annual Thanksgiving rivalry against the Washington Redskins.
"It's not a pleasant job. It don't pay nothing, but I'm making a difference,” he explained.
Mr. Winn picked up 12 bags of trash before lunch at Luby's on Thursday, and by mid-afternoon was back at it, finding wrappers, bags, cartons and occasionally even cash.
"Oh yeah, I find fives and tens pretty easy. 50-dollar bills -- I found two of them once on a tennis court I was cleaning up," he said.
After retiring as an electrician, Mr. Winn turned his attention to picking up trash about a decade ago – spurred to action, he recalled, after watching a woman throw fast food out her window in the parking lot of a home improvement store.
Coca-Cola began buying him large blue barrels. He put concrete in the bottom so they couldn’t be easily taken, and he regularly replaces the bags when they get full. Today there are 42 scattered along streets, sidewalks, and bus stops in Southeast Dallas.
“Last 12 months I've bagged up over 3,000 bags,” said Mr. Winn. “That's not in my trash cans. That's going out and doing what I'm doing right now."
He collects more than little pieces of litter. He has also picked up tires, bumpers and shopping carts out of creeks.
"I think Ken does a great job of sharing; this is not a one-time clean up deal – this is an effort to change the paradigm and really change peoples’ mentality to say, 'I've really got to take ownership of the community I live in, and it starts with me picking up one piece of trash,'” said Korey Mack from the nearby Buckner Terrace Homeowners Association.
Winn joined them a few weeks ago in picking up more than 70 large trash bags of litter.
That's why on this day of gratitude, Dallas should give thanks for Mr. Winn.
"I'm 72 and I'm going to do this ‘til I can't do it no more," Winn said.
On Christmas Day he turns 73, and after presents with family, he plans to go out and pick up after others.