Westport’s roads are filled with joggers.
They’re all different types: men and women, old and young, in shape and trying to get there.
With their jogging gear, headphones and determined looks, though, they all tend to look the same.
Except for Julie Van Norden.
Julie Van Norden
You might have seen her running, from her home near the Merritt Parkway through town and back. Or a longer run, toward the train station or Staples.
She’s the one holding a couple of empty beer cans.
Or (to be fair) other garbage.
No, she doesn’t have a problem. Just the opposite: She’s doing her bit to fix the problem others have.
You know, the ones who throw trash out the car window, wherever they want.
“I love where I live. I want to keep it clean,” she says.
So she “plogs.” That’s her word for “picking up litter while jogging.”
Julie Van Norden, at work.
Right now, Julie may be the only Westport runner who does this.
She focuses on items that can be recycled. She scopes out what needs to be picked up on her her way out. On her way back, she picks up whatever she can carry.
Back home, she sorts it all out into her recycling bins.
Wouldn’t it be great if we saw other folks running with beer cans too?
Then maybe one day, none of them would have to.
(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org)