Photo Credit: Barbara Hunt
Last Friday evening in Palmer, Alaska, one man made a huge difference in his small town. Taking charge to clean up the city, Ryan Butcher – in the rain and donning Carhartt coveralls – cleaned graffiti off playground equipment and painted over the damage. But he wasn’t alone.
Earlier in the week, the graffiti enthusiasts decided to leave their disgusting mark in the small town of Palmer. They put their art everywhere. But it wasn’t really art. It was just sloppy, ugly graffiti. The vandals placed it on buildings, signs, storage containers, and tagged vehicles. They also let covered many surfaces in the AMooseMent playground where Ryan’s children swing and go down slides.
It all began last Monday, when Ryan Butcher just a normal nice guy, decided to take his two children to the Palmer AMooseMent playground. They arrived and were surprised to see the wooden moose had been marked and the tug boat had been tagged. Complete with crude language on all the posts, railings, fences, and slide, the “artwork” was a bit much for children. It was like the wonderful playground, built by the community, had been desecrated. The graffiti bothered Ryan a lot.
But he decided to be the change he wanted to see in the world. Instead of demanding the government clean up the mess at the expense of himself and other Alaskan taxpayers, Butcher took the lead, and in the rain, cleaned up his town. He rallied some friends, and on the rainy and wet day of August 11, Butcher led a group of volunteers around the city to clean up the ugly mess.
His friends called a few more of their friends, and the idea eventually went out on social media as a clean-up party event. Ryan bought some paint out of his own pocket, Valley Recycling Solutions gave him some extra paint, and the city gave him some graffiti remover. Ryan didn’t wait around for an engineered rehabilitation plan or a bureaucracy and red tape filled government to discuss the graffiti and issue permit for a costly, complex, and untimely fix.
So on Friday night, there was a crowd. Not a little crowd. A big crowd. Sabrena Combs was there. No surprise. She’s always everywhere, smiling and helping and making you just feel just so good about Palmer. She bought paint at Home Depot, which largely discounted the paint, because of the volunteer project.
Sabrena went to school with Ryan. She pointed him out—he was the one wearing the brown Carhartt overalls and stocking cap. “He’s just a good guy,” she said. “And he loves our little town.”
So do a lot of other folks. Despite falling rain, many folks turned out to help Ryan. Parents, kids, non-parents, boy scouts, and Tae Kwon Do students. Councilman Richard Best was there, with his arm in a sling, but helping out.
Little kids armed with small rollers and paint attacked the low scribbles. Adults handled the graffiti cleaner and repainted the tall structures. Everything received bright opaque colors to cover up the violent and weird messages. –Frontiersman
Rather than sitting around and trying to place blame while awaiting a government fix, the town rallied together behind one man intent on doing some good. They were able to work together and fixed the ugly sight on their own, without being forced to do so, proving voluntary human interaction can always beat the government’s involvement.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.