Pick Up Gettysburg! marks third year

Community members keeps Gettysburg's streets clean to remember Rodney Edmonds's life.

Pick Up Gettysburg! marks third year
Attendees participate in the annual Pick Up Gettysburg! event held by Voices United in GAC. (Photo courtesy Jenine Weaver.)

It didn’t take long for Jenine Weaver to figure out a way to honor the life of Rodney Edmonds when she’d heard he’d passed away in August of 2020.

Weaver had frequently seen Edmonds with his daughter, Miraya, picking up trash along the streets of Ward 3 in Gettysburg. Miraya often wore a crown, safety vest and gloves while the two walked along with trash bags. Edmonds and his daughter garnered some attention for it, with a story in the newspaper and posts on social media, but they didn’t do it for the attention. They did it to keep the streets clean.

Edmonds struggled with mental health issues and addiction, according to Weaver, and lost his battle in the summer of 2020. Almost immediately, Weaver contacted the family and asked if they were okay with her organizing a trash pick-up day to continue Edmonds’s work and honor his legacy.

“His family loved it. They said ‘Please plan it.’ They were very positive about it,” Weaver said.

A phone screenshot of Rodney Edmonds and his daughter Miraya. (Photo courtesy of Miranda May.)

The event gained traction in the community, and this past Saturday, October 8, marked the third year in a row people have come together for Pick Up Gettysburg!. About 20 people showed up with gloves, bags and trash pickers, despite the cold.

This year the group picked up seven 13-gallon bags of trash along routes around High, Washington and Breckenridge Streets, starting from the Gettysburg Recreation Park. Following the pick up, attendees were treated with hot drinks and snacks offered by Edmonds’s brother and sister-in-law, Walner and Heather.

The event also featured information on mental health services. Any extra money raised to support the event, after paying for supplies, goes towards helping people to afford mental health appointments, Weaver said.

“We have found people avoid getting help due to cost. We try to bridge that gap,” she added.

Weaver founded the nonprofit organization Voices Unite in GAC (Gettysburg, Adams County), which organizes Pick Up Gettysburg! among other events that bring awareness to “poverty, oppression and racial bias” in the community.

She explained that over the years people have always had a positive response to the event. “People stop us. They’ll want to know what it is, what we’re doing. Sometimes they’ll donate money.”

“We’ve never had one bad comment on it, not even on the internet,” she said.

With Weaver’s initiative, his family’s blessing and the community’s help, Pick Up Gettysburg! continues to assure that the streets in town are a little bit cleaner and Edmonds’s good work lives on.