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The City Journals

Murray Rotary, local business clean freeway entrances

Jun 10, 2021 01:57PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray Rotary Club volunteers cleaned Murray’s freeway interchanges on May 15. (Photo courtesy Jerry Summerhays)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Murray’s freeway interchanges are well-worn thoroughfares in which thousands of people pass each day. Unfortunately, with tens of thousands of travelers comes the inevitable trash that occurs with it. 

On May 15, Murray Rotarians arranged for a second service project in as many months, this time focusing on cleaning Murray’s interstate gateways. After a significant community service project in March, the Murray Rotary club felt more could be done and targeted some of Murray’s on-ramps and off-ramps. 

Murray Rotary and Miss Murray Kyleigh Cooper organized the “Murray Safe City Clean-up” last March. At that activity, 90 volunteers removed 190 55-gallon bags of litter from seven sites Murray City had requested. That project focused on Murray-owned properties.

Jerry Summerhays, a Murray Rotarian, approached the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and asked if Murray Rotary Club could organize a project to remove litter adjacent to on-ramps and off-ramps in Murray. UDOT was receptive and provided orange bags and orange vests to help volunteers remove the trash.

“My family was supposed to go on a turkey hunt, but we stayed and bagged litter instead of bagging a turkey,” Murray Rotary Club President Terry Putnam said.

Tackling all four of Murray’s freeway entrances required more hands than Murray Rotary had immediately available. They placed a notice on JustServe.org, an online posting site that lists volunteer opportunities with communities to recruit help. Alexandra Nixon and her husband responded to the ad. “We have to do this,” Nixon said.

For safety reasons, volunteers for the interchange clean-up had to be 18 or older. So volunteers were harder to get. Murray Rotary appealed to their adjacent Midvalley Rotary Club and the Midvalley Rotaract Club (college-age Rotarians). They approached businesses close to the interchanges to provide workers. With a lot of effort, they gathered 74 volunteers. In two hours, they collected 84 60-gallon bags of trash from the I-15 interchanges at 4500 South and 5300 South and the I-215 interchanges at State Street and 280 East. UDOT then collected all the trash.

Murray Rotary club has been part of the Murray community since 1957. Service to the community is a keystone of membership. This year they will be honoring the top 10 Murray High School seniors and providing the pancake breakfast for the July 3 Murray Fun Days. They do International projects too. Last March, 20 Murray Rotarians went to Mexico to help a medical clinic in a small town in Baja California.

Gabrielle Shipley, one of the 10 Rotaractors (college-aged Rotarians), said, “I enjoyed the clean-up because it is something I can do to make a positive change in my community. Our city is beautiful and doing my part helps keep it that way.”

Murray Sam’s Club general manager Josh Brower said, “The Sam’s Club team had a great time teaming up with Rotary. We felt awesome seeing how clean the on- and off-ramps at State Street and I-215 turned out. This brings us together and helps drive business into the local sectors. Sam’s Club is always looking for ways to give back to the place we all live.”

And volunteer Rodrigo Ortiz, owner of La Cocina de Mama Hila, immediately west of the 4500 South interchange, when asked why he would volunteer to give up a Saturday morning, said, “We need to be willing to take care of our city and our planet.”

More information can be found online regarding Murray Rotary Club and future service projects at murrayrotaryutah.com.

At the end of the project, Summerhays said, “Everyone who volunteered had one thing to ask: please don’t throw litter on our interstates.”