12 years ago Jerry Erskine, a Rotary member in Lebanon, Indiana went to a Rotary convention and ended up in Norway. Erskine noticed how clean the Norwegian cities were during his trip. When Erskine returned to his hometown Rotary Club in Lebanon Indiana, he challenged the club to help make Lebanon the “cleanest city in Indiana”.
The President of the Lebanon Rotary Club at the time was Jeff Whitaker, owner of the local Lebanon Dairy Queen. Erskine and Whitaker with the help of the Lebanon Mayor “Huck” Lewis and fellow Rotary members mobilized the clean up program 12 years ago that continues to this day.
Erskine suffered a stroke December 28, 2020 and now is able to continue to drive the golf cart, but cannot get out of the cart very well to pick up the trash. Erkine’s retired daughter, Valerie, helps her father and fellow Rotarian Jennifer Laurence is now taking the reins from Erskine to continue the Lebanon program into the future.
“Our goal was to try to get all the trash off the street” said Erskine. “If you ask the street department, they will tell you we make a difference.”
Erskine said the Rotarians have a team at the Boone County Fairgrounds every day this week. “ I was out there Tuesday and Wednesday and I can tell you we didn’t get a bucket full of trash out there and we covered the entire fairgrounds and I had never seen so many cars at the fairgrounds at one time. There were a lot of people there”.
Maybe Lebanon, Indiana is indeed the cleanest city in Indiana, thanks to people like Jerry, Valerie, Jennifer, Jeff, “Huck” and the men and women in the Lebanon Rotary Club.