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Monday, January 10, 2022

Retiree's Daily Walks Help Clean Up Fort Thomas, One Step at a Time

Fort Thomas resident Russell Guy keeps things tidy in the community with his daily walks.

by Robin Gee

If you live in Fort Thomas you may have seen Russell Guy. He’ll be 76 this year, and he takes a walk for exercise each morning from his home on Grand Avenue. It’s a routine he’s had for at least 10 years, he said. It is routine, but he varies his route a couple of times each week. That way he covers more ground in his clean up efforts.

Guy takes the opportunity on his walks to go the extra mile and pick up trash as he goes, leaving his route just a bit tidier and a bit more pleasant for his neighbors and the community. You’ll see him out walking every day and carrying a bright orange bucket and a reacher/grabber stick. 

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Guy knows a thing or two about community service and civic pride. He retired from his job as a maintenance supervisor at the Campbell County Fiscal Court in 2010. He’s lived in Fort Thomas for about 25 years. He is a father of five with children living in Colorado, Georgia and Ohio, although his son, Russell Jr., also lives on Grand in Fort Thomas.

The right thing to do

"I’ve always walked, and I figured while I was walking I might as well pick up stuff. It was just getting more and more on the streets, and it didn’t seem like anybody was doing much about it. I just thought it was the right thing to do," he said.

He started picking up trash along the way about three or four years ago. He varies his route a couple of days a week to cover more ground.

"I live on Grand Avenue so I walk up North Fort Thomas on one side, then I come back on the other side. Once a week I cut across Pentland and pick up across there and down Grand, and then on another day I’ll go down Wilbers Lane, pick it up and then pick up on Grand, usually Mondays or Thursdays. But I walk every day," he explained.

Guy said the printed advertisements that are delivered to every door, the ones many of us discard without even looking at, are a problem. They blow into the gutters and get soggy when it rains. In winter they freeze solid and are hard to pick up — and they’re everywhere, he said.

"I guess those advertisements are out there for a reason, but a lot of people, especially in the winter time when it’s dark, may not even notice them, and they can blow out into the street."  

90 Alexandria Pike. 

That extra mile to keep Fort Thomas beautiful

Has he found anything unusual in his walkabouts?

"You find all kinds of stuff out there when you’re walking," Guy said. "I’ve found a little bit of money here and there, a dollar here, fifty cents there, a quarter. But once I found a fake $100 dollar bill. It really looked real so I took it to the bank thinking maybe somebody lost it, but the guy there said it was a 'funny' bill."

A few times, he said, he’s found car keys. "One time I found a set, and the Fort Thomas police were sitting up there by the school so I gave it to them. Maybe somebody lost them. I’m sure those are expensive to replace."

Guy doesn’t see his good deed for the community as anything special, yet many said they are impressed by his efforts.

"I don’t think it’s that big a deal picking stuff up. I’ve just always been doing it. People walk by and they say we appreciate my cleaning up the neighborhood, and I say that’s okay, I’m just out walking anyway...We live in a really nice town here I think, and you just hate to see litter all over the place. It just doesn’t reflect too good on our city."

One quiet, small but steady act has made an impact, and the hope is others will follow in Guy’s footsteps.

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