The Highway of Heroes clean took place in Grafton on Sunday, October 22, 2023.
A number of students from Kingston came down to Grafton to clean the on and off-ramps of Highway 401 which was renamed the Highway of Heroes during the Afghanistan war.
Kerri Tadeu first adopted the Grafton on and off-ramps in honour of her friend Major Michelle Knight Mendes who died in Afghanistan.
Tadeu along with two others then adopted the entire stretch of highway from CFB Trenton to Toronto, which is the journey fallen soldiers took along with their families after being repatriated.
Silver Cross Mother Diane Knight also came out to clean the ramps named after her daughter who died 14-years ago.
In 2016 when the area was first adopted by Tadeu, 35 bags of garbage were picked up on the westbound on-ramp alone.
Two years ago, Youth Day was introduced where a number of youth come out and help clean and learn about the service and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers and their families.
“The youth that are coming out are getting their (driver’s) licenses in the next year or two and we come across on a regular basis alcohol (containers) that are being dumped either coming off or going on the highway,” said Tadeu.
“I shared when you get your license you can’t assume that people beside you are not dangerous and haven’t been drinking and driving. Or even with medical legal marijuana that they aren’t impaired.”
Knight comes out during the Spring and Fall clean-up and picks up the most garbage.
“She cares about her community. She’s lived here her entire life, she knows were here to remember her daughter and I just think as a Canadian citizen, it’s the ones that have lost the most are the ones giving the most back to the community.”