The Logan Empowerment Action and Development group is has been busy working over the last few weeks throughout Logan County doing cleanups and holding Meet the Candidate forums.
“We’re doing a lot of positive things,” U.S. Army Major Richard Ojeda, the group’s founder, said in a recent interview. “We’ve picked up more than 300-plus tires and we did the ‘Make it Shine’ in Logan and picked up about 160 bags of liquor bottles. Every weekend, we’ve got something going on.”
Ojeda said the group wants to work to make life better for everyone in Logan County.
“The LEAD organization is doing some wonderful things out there and all we want is for people to get involved and come out and help us,” Ojeda said.
One of Ojeda’s most recent project was to get the state parks division to put a covering over the statue of Chief Logan in Chief Logan State Park because the statue was spray painted by vandals.
“They’ve got a tarp over the statue until someone can come and fix it,” Ojeda said. “Visitors don’t need to see it in that shape, where some knucklehead painted it.”
Other projects include graffiti removals and repainting the Man swimming pool.
“Ninety-percent of the kids in Man don’t have the money to go on vacation and the only thing they get in the summer is to swim in that pool,” Ojeda said. “We’re going to do more graffiti removal projects and more tire pickups.”
The LEAD group, assisted by clients of the Logan County Day Report Center, worked earlier this week to get the Man pool painted.
Ojeda said the tire pickups have been highly successful.
“I think we’ll break the 500-tire mark the next time we go pick up tires,” Ojeda said. “We’ve already picked up 321 tires out of the creeks and off the sides of the roads in Man and Omar. Imagine what happens when we go up Mill creek and up into Lake.”
Ojeda said the members of the group work on cleanup projects in their spare time.
“We can only do this when we can,” Ojeda said. “It’s me, Shawn Wolford, (Delegate Rupert) ‘Rupie’ Phillips, Larry Rogers and my brother-in-law, Steven Hall, going around and picking up all these tires,” Ojeda said. “I’m not trying to go ask a bunch of people for help. I’ve put out on Facebook that we’re doing these things and all we want is for people to come out.”
Ojeda said the group is planning to start work to educate students about littering.
“We’re going to start an anti-litter program and we’ve got these green ribbons we’re going to pass out to people so that the ribbon is a promise and you promise to tie it onto the antennae of your car,” Ojeda said. “What you also do when you tie that on is to take a Walmart bag and put it in the front seat of your car so that when you have litter you throw it in the bag and then empty it into a trash can when you stop to fill up with gas.
“We want to go around to the schools to talk to kids about the importance of not littering. We want to get people involved so that they will stop throwing trash out their car windows.”
Ojeda said he wants to get cameras put up in areas where illegal dumping goes on.
Ojeda said the LEAD group was created to do positive things for the county.
“We are committed to go into these areas to do positive things,” Ojeda said. “We want to do our best to help out anybody we can help. We want to build a sense of pride back into Logan Countians. We want to get people out working in their neighborhoods again so that they can meet and develop relationships with their neighbors.”
To contact Staff Writer Michael Browning, call 304-752-6950, extension 309, or email him at email@example.com.