In only a few short hours, the first litter cleanup of the year in Brady removed nearly 400 cubic feet of litter from three of the highways and roads leading into town. As part of the ‘Great Texas Trash-Off,’ a statewide effort to clean up litter in Texas, more than 50 Brady High School youth were joined by as many adult volunteers to help pick up litter along the highways Saturday morning. ‘It was wonderful to see such a successful event to kick off the upcoming ‘Deep Clean Days’ and show our support for the ‘Keep Texas Beautiful Great Texas Trash-Off,'” said Craig Steffens, Clean Deep committee member and retired director of landscape design for the Texas Department of Transportation. “I thought today’s litter pickup was a resounding success. I was very impressed with the number of workers that turned out because they were both high school and middle school youth. “It wasn’t exactly the best weather to be out picking up trash, but the adults were very enthusiastic and provided assistance and safety supervision, ‘This is an impressive start to what must be an on- going or perpetual campaign to bring back a thriving, healthy community.’ Saturday’s event was the tune-up for this week’s upcoming “Deep Clean Days” on Friday and Saturday. The event, organized by a cleanup committee appointed by Brady Mayor James Stewart, is part of a long-term effort to beautify Brady and McCulloch County. This weekend’s cleanup is the next step in helping citizens move toward voluntary compliance with city ordinances designed for the general public’s health and well being. ‘The task at hand of bringing all residents into compliance with existing codes is a huge task,” said building inspector Ronnie Hall. “I applaud the mayor and city council for taking our current code problems seriously.”The Clean Deep” campaign will hopefully give assistance to residents who want to change but need a little help. “The City of Brady is quite serious about bringing our community into compliance, so I hope that all residents take advantage of the upcoming cleanup and free dumping day to bring their property in compliance.” The cleanup committee has developed a list of teams that have volunteered to provide assistance with area citizens who have expressed a desire to clean up properties. Team leaders met with Stewart and his committee Friday evening to divide up public requests and assign responsibilities for this coming weekend’s efforts. “We had a fair response from the community of people needing help with cleanup projects,” said Stewart. “Some of the project requests were very large in scale such as helping remove dilapidated homes, but others were as simple as requests for helping dispose of bulky items that residents simply cannot move themselves.” This weekend, members of the community are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to remove trash and junk from their property and dispose of it properly. “This campaign is not simply about appearance or ‘trash,’ it’s about safety for our community,” said Tommy Payne, chief of police in Brady. “Litter begets litter and neglect begets neglect which attracts crime and complacency.’ Sheila Hemphill, director of the local non-profit organization Best for the Heart of Texas (BHOT) said, “Craig Steffens is my personal ‘hero’ as he was instrumental with the original ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ campaign for TxDOT. We are blessed to have him and other individuals who have come back to Brady or who are new to Brady to bring their experience and knowledge to help give of their time to help our community. ‘The support this campaign is receiving from our mayor and city manager and city staff has been amazing. A community’s success will not rise above the vision of its leadership. We are in excellent hands with our new leadership who are committed to an ongoing campaign to bring deep and significant improvement that will have lasting impact on our resident’s quality of life and economical growth. “Beauty is a by-product of a safe and healthy community and cannot happen without leadership and effort.” Echoing the need for a continued effort to clean up Brady, Brady City Manager Merle Taylor said, “The years of neglect and decline of many of our properties will not be fixed in a short time, but with diligent commitment and effort by the city and citizens, we can renew our community image and stimulate the economy and tax base,” This coming weekend’s cleanup effort is being coordinated by the City of Brady. For more information, contact the City of Brady at 597-2152.