A group of youths from the Kingston area learned about service and sacrifice while cleaning the environment on Sunday, April 23, 2023.
The grade eight youths cleaned the area around the ramps along the Highway of Heroes named in honour of fallen Canadian soldier, Major Michelle Knight Mendes who died in Afghanistan on April 23, 2009 at the age of 30-years-old.
The ramps were adopted by Kingston resident Kerri Tadeu who has made the commitment to cleaning up the area twice a year.
Along with the youths and Tadeu were Knights mother Dianne and her friend Don Knox.
“It’s centred around the youth coming out and cleaning, to remember the fallen, to talk about the service and sacrifice of those that have given so much for our freedom in Canada.”
The clean was started in 2016 and takes place twice a year.
Tadeu said it’s “hit and miss” each year with the amount of garbage.
Where the transport truck drivers is considerably worse than other areas.
“Truckers continue to pollute our environment with urine containers, bags full of faecal matter. All the drink bottles. Anything you can think of that is really disgusting, people are here picking it up.”
Tadeu said the epidemic of people drinking and driving astounds her every year.
“Where you’re coming off the highway, there is alcohol containers. When you’re coming on the highway, there is alcohol containers.”
‘People are actively drinking and driving and it’s incredibly dangerous – it’s life threatening.”
When Tadeu first started in 2016 there was 37 bags of garbage in a very small area – so it has got better.
“But I still don’t understand how pollute their own area. It doesn’t make sense to me that people coming off the highway into little Grafton or any other place are going somewhere. So why wouldn’t you hold your garbage to the place where you’re going. So when you’re leaving Grafton why wouldn’t you dump your garbage before you get on the highway.”
“We’re out here on the Highway of Heroes trying to keep it clean – we’re out here remembering. It’s our small way of thinking of all the people that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country.”
After the clean each of the youths presented a bouquet of flowers to the mother of the fallen soldier.