Heroes of the Morning

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Bob Scillufo and Craig Herman are indeed HerrinFesta volunteers, but most Herrinites and visitors from out of town will never see them at work, for they are out at dawn, while exhausted revelers are still sleeping off the effects of too much beer, music, and salameats. The tools they use are simple – rakes, brooms, blowers, and trash bags – but their duties are far from simple. Each morning of HerrinFesta, they show up to supervise the clean-up detail, one of the most important, and least visible jobs. Bob is Co-Manager of the Murphysboro Kroger, and Craig is a teacher’s aide at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Herrin, but from Friday morning through Tuesday morning of HerrinFesta, these two can be seen, blower or rake in hand, wading through the piles of garbage left behind after the shows, the rides, and the contests are over.

Herrin Mayor Vic Ritter, working with the HerrinFesta Committee, arranges in advance to have workers transported to Herrin from the DuQuoin Boot Camp, to help with this monumental task. Their territory ranges from the Methodist Church on 16th Street, to Herrin Security Bank on Monroe, to 22nd Street, and the entire Civic Center area. Dozens of large trash bags are filled with empty drink cups, napkins, ticket stubs, and other debris, loaded into a truck, and deposited into dumpsters.* Craig starts at Bank of Herrin’s parking lot around 5:30 a.m., while Bob can be found in front of, and behind the Civic Center. They have become experts at estimating crowd sizes from the night before, and often give Jim Gentile their educated guesses, based on how things look when they arrive on the scene in the wee hours. 2008 marks Bob’s seventh year performing this vital community service. In 2001, he joined the late Gerry Bailey, who was also a tireless volunteer in this capacity. Craig has been on board for three years now, and he brings with him father-in-law Taffy Helleny’s reliable old pick-up truck. They do this for love of their city, and their reward is an $1800 donation to United way. Craig’s message to the public – “Get up early, and see what all goes into making HerrinFesta presentable at opening every day!” So, come on down and give these two a wave, or give them a hand, while seeing HerrinFesta from a whole new perspective!

*Midwest Waste hauls off all trash from the HerrinFesta grounds each year free of charge.

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