Miller is making Monte Vista a cleaner place


MONTE VISTA — Resident Barb Miller loves to stay busy and active. Miller works at Top Value in Monte Vista and is a busy grandmother, helping her grandkids, and enjoys cleaning up the roads around Monte Vista.

Miller retired from working as a postmaster in Wyoming 15 years ago, and was asked to come and live in Monte Vista, by her daughter, to help with her grandchildren. Miller moved to Monte Vista and noticed on her many drives around town that the ditches and side roads contained a lot of trash and debris.

Miller, wanting to see the roads look cleaner, and wanting to make a difference in her community, began picking up trash and debris along the ditch banks and the roads coming into Monte Vista.

Many customers from the local store that she works for have noticed her cleaning trash and debris and would stop and wave at Miller and a few even brought her snacks and soda for all her hard work and effort.

Miller spoke of her reasons behind the help that she gives and spoke of her thoughts on how important it is to keep the roads clean for everyone.

“I don’t need to be recognized for this, to me this is just play and fun,” she said. “I enjoy staying busy and active. Before I started at Top Value, I had gone to the highway department, and I signed on for this, for 3 miles under my name. I noticed though, that nobody would clean the sections in between. So, I just started at our house, which is 11 miles out, and I went all the way up into Monte Vista. I drive this route all the time and I like to see it clean. CDOT has provided me with an orange vest, and with orange trash bags. I help with cleaning, and they pick up the bags. I do this in the Spring and in the Fall. I love to stay busy.”

Miller said she has found all kinds of interesting things on the side of the roads and in the ditches.

“I will tell you this cleanup is interesting. I think people would be amazed at some of the things I have found in the ditch areas. I have found lots of sunglasses, and so many tools. I know people probably lay their stuff on the back of their vehicles and forget they are there and drive off. I have found screwdrivers, wrenches, gas caps. With Monte Vista Coop right there too, people just drive down the highway and forget their gas caps,” she said.

She said she has found “twenties, tens, fives, ones, and coins. I often wondered how I could find money but in thinking about it, I am sure people throw money up on their dashes and it just flies out the window as their going down the highway. I found a social security card once and I looked up the name and called a resident out of Alamosa. The woman stated that it belonged to her son, and she would never let him carry it again,” Miller stated with a chuckle. “I also once found five boxes of brand-new telephone equipment, that had probably fallen off a truck or a trailer. I took it home and called someone. They were so thankful, they stated it was so many dollars’ worth of equipment and they travelled and picked it up. I also found a 3 thousand dollar check once. I called the company that the check was made from, and the guy said that he threw it up on his dash and wondered where it went. He was very appreciative that I found it.”

Miller said that last spring she recycled 25 bags of bottles and cans, to help the environment.

“I carry two bags in my pocket and a bag in my hands. I am excited because I helped save the CDOT guys from having to pick up those bottles and cans and take them to the landfill too,” Miller said.

Miller stated that a farmer had also stopped once and wanted to give her money for all she was doing.

“I insisted that it was just fun for me, and the money wasn’t necessary. It just gives me a good feeling when I see the streets looking clean and the highway looking clean. I know I was a part of that, and that makes me feel good. I think if everyone everywhere would take even just a moment, or an hour or a minute, we could all make a big difference in the way everything looks. This is something I enjoy, and I love to give to the community. Again, not to be recognized but it just feels good to play a part in it all and see the nice clean roads,” Miller said.

Miller wrote a poem about her cleaning efforts and wanted to share it with the community.

“An addict I have become, cleaning the ditches just for fun. You can do it and don’t have to run, no one is shooting off the starting gun. Once minute here, and one minute there, it will show that you do care. Mile after mile of trash picked up, soon there won’t be a bottle or cup. Your honk and wave make my day, thank you is what I want to say. So, on your walk, grab your sack. Yes, it happens just like that.”