DEER PARK, Texas -- Stanley Ritter is sometimes mistaken for a homeless man wandering through Deer Park on his adult tricycle: a basket in the front and a basket on the back filled with his belongings and a few bags of trash.
But Ritter’s not homeless. He’s a dedicated patrolman cleaning up his adopted city one piece of trash at a time.
Most days you can find the 80-year-old at the E.M. Maxwell Adult Center working on intricate jigsaw puzzles, usually at least 500 pieces or more.
But before he stops at Maxwell, he takes his grandson to elementary school. They travel together on the adult tricycle. Then on his way to Maxwell, and on other journeys throughout Deer Park, he stops to pick up as much litter as he can.
"It's hard for me to sit still too long,” the retired dock worker said. “I clean up trash, cans bottles. Whatever I can."
Ritter says he’s been making his self-appointed rounds for almost two years now, ever since he moved to Deer Park from the Brenham area to live with his daughter.
He's a neighborhood fixture now in Deer Park, often recognized, often treated to a free meal at his neighborhood McDonald's, who wants his new neighborhood to look a bit better than it does now.
"When I was a kid, you better not throw trash around. You better keep your yard, house, and neighborhood clean," he said.
Stanley is quick to point out he is not homeless, he is not scavenging, he is not crazy. He's just an 80-year-old man on a tricycle and on a mission.
"The community has been so good to me," Ritter said. "I wanted to do something back."
On any given morning in Deer Park, you'll see Ritter riding by and giving back -- by taking. All the while hoping the rest of his community, pitches in, and comes along for the ride.