Tamara Richter, KCRA
(CAMINO, CALIFORNIA) June 25, 2022 — A man in El Dorado County has spent the last 15 years cleaning up his town, and now the younger generation is taking notice.
Bob Perkins and the sixth grade class at Camino Elementary are our KCRA 3 CommUNITY Champions.
Every weekday for two hours, Perkins clears about five miles of Camino roads. He uses a bucket and several tools to pick up trash along the street.
“I’ve been doing this since 2007,” Perkins said. “How it started was, I retired and it was too easy to sit around the house.”
There was one piece of trash that stopped him in his tracks. A Doritos bag, with a string attached to an envelope. He opened the envelope and inside was a letter from the sixth graders at nearby Camino Elementary.
Perkins read the letter he found out loud.
“Hello, you have picked up this piece of trash knowing you have been doing good for the neighborhood. We acknowledge the good you do and what you do inspires all of us to do the same.”
Perkins said he was so touched, that he went to the school to find the students, but the class was already out for the summer.
“Well I’m getting a little teary-eyed again, every time I read it,” Perkins said.
KCRA 3 tracked down the student who wrote the note, Alex Hester, and made sure he was able to thank Perkins in person.
“I just said how we appreciate him doing good for our community, and thank you, and how he inspires the class to do the same,” Hester said.
Turns out it was all part of a lesson on the environment and cleaning up the community, in Jon Haffner’s science class.
“I’ve been seeing Bob, I’ve now learned is his name, picking up trash along my route to work for years,” Haffner said. “And I just kind of mentioned, well I know a guy who picks up trash almost every day. And all of a sudden hands went flying up, ‘I know that guy!’”
Hester wrote the note, and the students signed it and pitched in $27 in cash to add to the envelope.
“What they did really made me feel good,” Perkins said. “Put me on for another couple of miles.”
Perkins said he planned to use the money to buy a new pair of shoes because they wear out quickly with all of that walking.
“Whether he intended to be or not, he’s a role model,” Haffner said. “Positive acts of kindness, positive interactions with each other, it’s all catching. I think that being a role model is our lot in life, especially as an older generation, any adult needs to be a role model.”