Volunteers get dirty to clean up San Martin

Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman gets a kiss from a dog of Guide Dogs for the Blind, as they are joined by community volunteers and members of Boy Scout Troop 799 at the inaugural San Martin Trash Bash and Veterans Flag Raising Ceremony on Nov. 11. Photo by Scott Hinrichs.

San Martin is a cleaner and greener city today than it was last week, thanks to the efforts of about 80 South County residents who participated in the local chamber of commerce’s inaugural Trash Bash and Veterans Day Flag Raising event.

Volunteers from San Martin, Gilroy and Morgan Hill met up Nov. 11 at the Sig Sanchez Government Center, 80 Highland Ave., intent on putting in a hard day’s work to help clean up the area.

“It was really fun—not fun like I want to do this every week, but it was just very rewarding,” said San Martin Chamber director Connie Ludewig, who got her hands dirty as part of one of the 10 cleanup teams that was designated to a particular part of town. “We were really happy with the turnout. We had enough for four or more with each group.”

Ludewig’s crew covered an area from Fitzgerald Avenue and Santa Teresa Boulevard to California Avenue and Monterey Road.

“We just filled up the truck, dumped it and then hit the road again,” said Ludewig, who was overjoyed with the outpouring of support from the volunteers as well as the local businesses to make the inaugural event a success.

Pastries and cookies were supplied by CoPart; Starbucks coffee by PetersonCAT; bottled water by Terry Moriyama of Re/Max Realty Partners; Pizza by My Pizza owner Hamdey Altayyeb and Alex Kennett of Real Estate Solutions.

“The philosophy of this chamber is not just business-driven. It’s community driven. Yes, we want our businesses to thrive but, for that to happen, we want to build community,” Ludewig said.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman and GreenWaste partnered with the San Martin chamber to organize the cleanup activity.

Prior to shoving off to 10 designated areas, volunteers were treated to a Veterans Day Flag Raising Ceremony conducted by Boy Scout Troop 730 and 799.

“The Boy Scouts were phenomenal. You can’t beat a Boy Scout,” said Ludewig. “Their ceremony protocol was a respectful tribute to the veterans, many of whom brought their service dogs from Operation Freedom Paws.”

After the ceremony, volunteers, equipped with trash bags and gloves, drove out to their territories and gathered up any garbage and debris they could find until their trucks were full. Each group was out from 9 a.m. to noon and one even stayed an extra half hour to finish the job, according to Ludewig.

“Everybody was so nice and it builds camaraderie. It’s nice for people to know their neighbors and have trust among each other,” Ludewig said. “We plan on doing it again next year.”