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Cleaning up homeless camps near Fresno River - photo courtesy Emadco

Emadco Spearheads Cleanup Of Abandoned Homeless Camp

OAKHURST — A group of Emadco employees rolled up their sleeves and got busy this past week removing more than 3,100 pounds of trash left at an abandoned homeless camp along the Fresno River behind Vons.

The cleanup effort, which took place Thursday morning, is generating a lot of positive comments on Facebook — and around town.

“We didn’t do it for the publicity,” said Chad Gunderman, business manager at Emadco. “We did it because it was really visible from the road and we just got tired of looking at such a mess.”

Gunderman said seven Emadco employees and a group of volunteers from the community group KOMB (Keep Our Mountains Beautiful) coordinated the operation.

Among the items removed from the site: soiled diapers, broken bottles, spent batteries, tents, clothing, syringes, even a crack pipe.

“There had obviously been some children living at this camp too,” said Ashley Smith, Emadco’s operations manager. “It’s sad. There was actually enough kids’ clothing left behind to clothe an entire school.”

Smith said the cleanup effort coincided with a slow time in the company’s otherwise busy work week.

The tipping fee at the local transfer station necessary to dispose of the ton-and-a-half of trash from the camp cost Emadco about $60, he added.

Gunderman called the extra expense and effort by company employees “no big deal.”

“Every other Thursday, it’s a little lighter for us so we were grateful for the opportunity to help clean up our community,” Smith said. “Many hands make for light work.”

Gunderman said Emadco does sometimes receive complaints about its own trucks littering local neighborhoods.

“We know that occasionally stray bags and paper blow out of our trucks when they’re on their routes,” he said. “So we try to find different ways to make these kinds of cleanups work to balance that out. We want to make sure we’re picking up our fair share of litter too.”

Emadco has 27 employees and about two dozen trucks servicing the homes and communities in Madera County above 1,000 feet in elevation.

Smith estimates the company spent about 25 man-hours on the abandoned camp cleanup project.

“If someone is aware of a particularly nasty spot around the area, they can let us know and we can book in some time to get it cleaned up,” he said. “We live in such a beautiful community. We should all take pride in keeping it that way.”

Photos courtesy of Emadco; check out more photos of the cleanup on their Facebook page.

Your chance to participate in keeping our mountains beautiful – The Oakhurst River Parkway Cleanup, part of the Great Sierra River Cleanup is an annual event hosted this year by the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary. Willing volunteers are invited to meet on Saturday, Mar 30, at 8 a.m. in the Oakhurst Branch Library parking lot.

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