He’s 75 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to make a difference.
Wendell Hopkinson can be seen traversing the streets of Herkimer cleaning up cigarette butts, paper, and plenty of other things along the curb. His journey starts everyday at 5:30 in the morning. He leaves his home and makes his way through Herkimer, one road at a time.
He starts out near Hannaford, and makes his way down towards Main Street, heading up around to Wal Mart and then back down State Street.
Joe Fariel, someone who knows Wendell personally says, “Wendell is out every day picking up trash. He picks up the cigarette butts that people throw out with no regards to trash and litter, receipts, water bottles, and cans. Whatever is on the street, Wendell is picking it up.”
But most people who see Wendell are confused as to his purpose on the streets. But when they hear that he is simply trying to make a difference by picking up garbage, it became an instant positive opinion.
Colleen Loefler didn’t even know Wendell’s name until Eyewitness News told her. But she says she’s seen him at it for almost 6 months or even longer. “He’s a very pleasant man says good morning and he’s trying to make Herkimer Beautiful.
Jason Yero says people can think what they want about Wendell but he approves of the man’s actions. “I think it’s a nice thing that he does it. People that old go out and people say, ‘Oh he’s too old, he shouldn’t be going out.’ So what? Let him do it.”
And Wendell himself says he just appreciates the fact that people take notice.
He says, “Most are men and women either driving in the street,walking in the street, or pushing the baby carriage. They stopped me for four-five minutes and say you’re doing a terrific job. And I appreciate that.”
And Wendell says that with his help he feels good about what he does, but that there is strength is numbers.
He says he wishes he could get one or two retirees to help. “I would like to do something like that to help keep the place looking beautiful. Maybe take on a little more you know? I’m sure there’s more garbage out there– more than what I’m covering now.”
But Wendell will continue his job for Herkimer. He says as long as there is trash and he is able to get up each morning, he’ll be doing it. “Somebody’s taking good care of this village, and they know it,” he says with a laugh.