Community members, students adopt Fairfax highways

FAIRFAX, April 29, 2013 — Edward L. Weiner and and Lake Smith live very different lives, but they give back to their community—and the environment—via the same outlet.

Weiner is an attorney, while Smith is a senior at George Mason University, where he studies government and international politics. Both men participate in the Adopt-a-Highway program.

“It’s something we enjoy doing for the community,” Weiner, a partner in the Fairfax, Va.-based law firm Weiner, Spivey & Miller, PLC, said.

Weiner and his colleagues maintain a section of Ox Road through the program, and he said he and his peers make the time they spend collecting litter into a fun office event.

“It only takes an hour or two [to complete the work],” he said, but added that his group sometimes has to schedule the time for days other than the days set by the program.

“Early Sunday mornings [are when we prefer to maintain our area],” Weiner said.

Smith participates in the program with members of his fraternity, Delta Chi.

“We’ve adopted [Route] 123 from Braddock Road all the way down to Main Street,” Smith said.

Like Weiner and his colleagues, Smith said he and his peers enjoy the service aspect of the endeavor.

“We just figured it would be a great way to give back to our Mason community,” Smith said.

Like other participants in the program, Smith said his group is obligated to remove litter from their assigned area four times each year.

“We usually tend to it twice a quarter, just to make sure we’re keeping up with our obligation,” Smith said.

The work allows Smith and his fraternity brothers to both fulfill the community service requirement for their organization and make life nicer for fellow members of the community.

Cynthia Mercer, Adopt-a-Highway adoption coordinator for Fairfax, said Weiner and Smith are luckily only two of many volunteers in the program.

“It makes a significant contribution [to the community],” Mercer said of their work.

Many of the other Adopt-a-Highway volunteers are as varied as Weiner and Smith, Mercer said.

“It’s a broad base of groups. It’s a conglomerate,” she said.

Mercer did not speak to the benefits that volunteers reap, but Weiner said he knew of at least one.

“Anyone who participates in this will not litter,” he said.

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About Elizabeth Grisham

I am a journalist, historian and communication researcher. I hold Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and communication from George Mason University and Master of Arts degrees in Pre-doctoral American history and science communication, also from Mason. I study epidemics, public health policy and related communication practices. Law degrees and a Ph.D. in history--with a focus on public health--to come.
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