It was misty, but that didn’t stop a small crowd from gathering in front of the Mason Fire Department on Saturday morning.
“Today is the starting point,” said Mason Task Force organizer Michael Harris. “We’re going to generate some excitement here. The citizens, they’re ready for change and today will just be the one where we get started.”
As Harris talked with clean up volunteers, a rain shower started. It could be viewed as a symbol of cleansing and renewal, a symbol of the new era the volunteers were hoping to help usher in.
And then, once it ended, they got to work picking up cigarette butts, empty beer bottles, and other discarded items in the downtown area. After just a few hours of work things seemed to look much better for the small town.
For a place that has been through controversy due to its decades-long financial mismanagement, any small symbol brings a lot of hope for what they believe will be a brighter future once Ford’s Blue Oval City plant begins production in 2025.
Harris believes every little bit helps – even the biggest of houses is built with the smallest of nails, he’s said in the past.
“This is just the first of many (clean up events) we’ll be doing periodically so we can get people really enthused about Mason,” Harris said. “A lot of it has to do with not only the Blue Oval coming in the area, but it’s also something we should do anyway. We know the face of Mason is gonna change and we want to be a part of that.”
Harris and the volunteers – which included vice mayor Virginia Rivers, alderman Sylvester Harvey, and town recorder Luretha Harris – worked with Keep Tipton County Beautiful’s Jessica Hernandez. The non-profit provided collection tools, vests, and bags as well as giveaways after the event.
The rain began again just as the clean-up wrapped, ushering the group back into the fire department for lunch. For Harris, the event had a two-fold purpose: removing trash but bringing people together.
“Fellowship,” he said. “Today is about fellowship so we can get to know each other and begin to work together.”