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Give a hoot, Team Keesler!

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, BILOXI, MISS. -- Mardi Gras is over and evidence of the fun is everywhere. Unfortunately, the evidence includes trash littering our base and community. It is time to do some spring cleaning! 

When I was a kid, the Department of the Interior introduced us to Woodsy the Owl, a peer of Smokey the Bear. Woodsy would make personal appearances and appear on television on Saturday mornings reminding us to "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute." We were encouraged to pick up trash and to never litter. 

We were taught to respect our environment and properly dispose of our waste products and to recycle whenever we could. 

As I walked around the base this weekend, I was dismayed to see trash laying around. Careless and rude people had thrown their empty fast food bags along the sidewalks leading to the Triangle dormitory area. 

My wife and I picked it up and threw them away in one of the many trash bins located in the Triangle. As we continued our walk, we picked up empty plastic beverage bottles strewn along the road and put them in a recycling bin. Then, as we made our way around the flight line, we found some cans that some other rude people had abandoned along the running path. 

Littering is unacceptable and I need your help to stop it here on the base and outside the gates throughout our community. Don't be seduced by the dark side and think it is okay to pass by that litter because someone else will pick up the trash. Each of us are stewards of the environment. Being a good citizen includes showing respect to each other and our shared environment. Carelessly throwing your empty bottles, cans, fast foods products and cigarette butts wherever you want is unacceptable. 

When someone litters, it tells me they don't have pride. I'm going to assume they are smart enough to know that littering is wrong. When they litter, I can draw the conclusion that they don't have pride in their own professionalism, their citizenship and their community. They don't have pride in themselves! 

Airmen have pride and are proud to show their professionalism, citizenship and service before self. We are faithful to a proud heritage and a tradition of honor. Let's rally ourselves and our wingmen to do the right thing and keep our home clean. When you see trash, don't pass it by; pick it up! Place refuse in the right containers and recycle every chance you get. When you encounter a trash can that needs to be emptied, don't ignore it! Take ownership for those things you can control and partner with those who are responsible for their areas to keep our base and community clean.