FEATURE — She doesn’t wear a cape or have any known magical powers, she doesn’t fight crime, but one Southern Utah woman is a hero in her own right.
At 67, there’s still plenty of spring to Frankie Flemming’s step, and she’s putting it to good use.
For those who live in or drive through Ivins City, the sight of a woman bobbing between parked cars and around bushes and red rocks is likely frequent.
Year-round, five to six days per week, depending on the weather, Flemming walks 4-5 miles – beginning at her home in Ivins – taking various routes to pick up trash and other discarded items.
She said it’s fun saying hi to people and families along her walk.
“I was walking down the street here in Ivins one morning and I saw this little girl coming up towards me,” Flemming said. “She looked at me and she said, ‘Are you a protector of the Earth?’ I looked at her and I thought a second and I went, ‘Well, yes, I am.’”
Flemming said she told the little girl named Shelby that she could be a protector of the Earth, too, by getting a bag and picking up trash when she’s out walking or riding her bike.
“I thought that was so sweet,” Flemming said. “She was like 8 years old and she was very conscious of what we were doing. I felt thankful for that. I’ve seen her a couple of times since then and she is still actively picking up trash with me.”
Flemming, who works part-time at the Santa Clara library, began cleaning up the community five years ago after moving to the area from Park City in 2001.
“I just think it’s really important to give back to your community,” she said.
Initially, Flemming used plastic groceries bags, but after those got too heavy and began hurting her hands, she said she went to Ace Hardware and purchased her cart for $50.
“It holds 150 pounds and, somedays, it feels like I’m picking up that much trash,” she said, noting: “The wind blows out here – it’s so beautiful in Ivins and Santa Clara – but it’s so windy out here and the trash just blows forever and a day.”
So far, this month, Flemming has collected 63 pounds of trash that she takes home and places in her trash can. It it’s a recyclable item, she places it in her blue trash can.
“The pop cans, I recycle those myself,” Flemming said. “I take it up to one of the recycle places on Industrial Road in St. George and they pay me money, so I get a free lunch out of it – so, it’s exercise and a free lunch.”
Sande Morgan, of Ivins, said she and her husband have noticed Flemming out picking up trash numerous occasions and felt immense gratitude to her for her dedication to the community.
“It baffles the mind what our growing community would look like if Frankie and I’m sure others didn’t remove the ever-increasing litter people just throw down,” Morgan said, adding:
Who do they think is going to pick it up? Our family lived in a third world country, so we know what that looks like, so bless Frankie’s heart for doing such a wonderful job of keeping our community cleaned up of trash.
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