Ishpeming highway cleanup positive

To the Journal editor:

The Ishpeming Lions Club is the oldest Adopt-A Highway volunteer group in the Upper Peninsula.

Twice a year, we clean up the two-mile section of U.S. 41 from the west Ishpeming stoplight to the Ski Hall of Fame. In the decades of participating in this project, this little stretch of thoroughfare has become a source of seasonal reflection for me.

The elder Lions I worked with when I was a younger Lion, like Dave Holli, Jim Penrose and Knut Strom, encouraged and embodied the idea of community service as a necessary ingredient of any citizens life.

This idea is still relevant. We aren’t here to complain about the shortfalls of our governmental agencies, we are here to help accomplish our goals and vision as a community.

Phil Carter, one of our new Lions and business manager of Partridge Creek Compost, while working with me on a half mile section just west of Jim’s Jubilee Foods asked me, “Are we here to get micro-plastics out of the environment or make the road look pretty?”

“Make the road look pretty,” was my unequivocal response. “Ishpeming is a fantasy of our own creation. Let’s make it a pretty one.”

On our way back east down the south side of the road, we ran into Ted Jestremski, a 45-year member of the Ishpeming Lions club.

“This is my section of road,” he claimed. “Always has been. I do the south side from McDonalds to the Tourist Trap.”

I love Ted. He’s become a little possessive about this little piece of road he has been stewarding for the past four and a half decades and he feels like he owns it.

How many of us can honestly say we own a part of our town’s public domain? It occurred to me that this is a deep and real reward of a lifetime of service to one’s town. In a time of societal alienation and soul wrenching loneliness, this is a clear remedy.

As we walked back to our vehicles, chatting and carrying on the way friends in service typically do, with the afternoon sun setting to our backs, I feel peace and contentment walking between my old friend, Ted, and my young friend, Phil, in this continuum of care for our little town where we choose to live and choose to serve.


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