Well-deserved feast

Volunteers from the oil and gas industries help themselves to bowls of chili in Recreation Park after picking up trash Saturday in an effort to make Williston a better and cleaner place.

An effort to make the city a better place kicked off Saturday morning with the “I Will Keep Williston Clean. Will You?” campaign this fall.

 About 430 volunteers showed up from various oil and gas companies in the area to lend a hand and pick up trash around Williston, which was divided into 43 sections to cover during the clean up.

 The idea started in March after a city meeting when Keep Williston Clean Chairman Dan Manjack brought it up in front of city officials.

“It’s something the city does each year, it’s one of the mayor’s big passions, and we knew the city would need help with it,” Manjack said.

Soon after the meeting, Kelley Rankin, communications and facility coordinator of Statoil, was brought in to help with planning by reaching out to several members of the oil and gas industry.

“The city had the vision to do it, but the way of thinking was way too small, and I said, ‘give me a couple days,’” Rankin said.

Rankin said she was eating breakfast at Lonnie’s Roadhouse Cafe in Williston the day after the meeting and was able to round up 10 oil companies to offer their support and volunteers for the first clean up which was in May.

“The oil and gas industry is here to help, and we have the man power,” Rankin said.

Over a two-week period during the first clean-up, there were about 1,830 volunteers working to make the city a better and cleaner place, Manjack said.

Saturday, there were about 430 volunteers that showed up. Manjack said it was easier this time around because there wasn’t as much garbage that required being picked up.

“We’re going to try and do this twice a year, the first weekend in May and the first weekend in October,” Manjack said.  

“We’re way ahead of the game now,” Rankin said. “But I would like to see more of the townspeople come out.”

After the clean-up, volunteers gathered for a luncheon in Recreation Park in Williston for a hearty bowl of chili, served by Target Logistics, which Manjack said has been a huge supporter of Keep Williston Clean.

Over 30 gallons of chili were served, enough to feed 300 people.

Several companies donated equipment to the cause this Saturday as well, including Public Works, which lent out their trucks to fill with the trash that was being picked up, and Cascade Tanks which donated tanks to be filled.

Manjack said the committee would like to fit in one more clean-up this year and cover more of the downtown area.

“We’ve gotten feedback, and people feel really great about going out and doing this,” Rankin said. “Seeing the camaraderie of helping our community has been great.”

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