MONTEREY, Calif. - He served the country and now he's serving locally on a smaller scale but still making a big impact. Don Williams, 65, is a Vietnam veteran who goes around almost every day picking up trash in Monterey for free.
Williams said he's getting older and cleaning up the city helps him stay active. But the main reason he does it is because he's just tired of seeing trash lying around. With his own time and money, he started his own clean-up effort, called "Lizzards Lick Clean-up," and hopes to get the community to think twice before littering.
Each day, he rides 15 miles through Monterey picking up trash.
"I started six years ago and I made my own trailer. I do my own handy work," he said.
He has three grabbers and several five-gallon buckets to do the job. And, of course, his lizards for protection. They're not real, by the way.
"I pick it (trash) up," Williams said. "I don't need to stop. I just grab it and throw it back there without looking."
Williams said to maintain the bags and all the equipment, it can run him between $140 and $200 a month. He doesn't do it for the glory. It's all out of his heart for the love of his community.
"It's out of my pocket. Once in a while I go to City Council and try to get them out of their fancy offices and see what actually goes on in this town. It just makes me a little sick of how people just throw it out and usually it's the local people that do it," he said.
Williams rounds up about five to 20 pounds of trash across the city every week. After six years, many locals can't help but notice what he's doing for the community.
"I get a lot of help from the local people here. Everyone in town knows me here and they don't bother me," he said.
He said he went before the Monterey City Council several times in the past to let councilmembers know about all the trash he's finding. The assistant city manager told Central Coast News he is appreciative of anyone who generously helps clean up the city.
Hans Uslar, Monterey deputy city manager, said when Williams spoke in front of City Council a couple of months ago, the mayor thanked him for his efforts. He said Williams is a good guy and "very serious" about his work.