FOD Walk helps keep city looking good

Volunteers are key to the effort

On a recent afternoon, groups of people carrying garbage bags could be seen moving through downtown Fort Dodge and a couple of other spots in town. As they moved, they gradually filled those bags with every piece of litter they found.

That Thursday afternoon cleanup effort was the annual FOD Walk. For 15 years, the effort organized by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance has made our community a bit cleaner.

The endeavor was started by Rhonda Chambers, the director of aviation at Fort Dodge Regional Airport who once led the alliance’s Image Committee. She relied on her professional background to create it. FOD is an aviation acronym that stands for Foreign Object and Debris. FOD Walks are conducted at civilian and military airfields to remove anything from the runways that might damage a plane. In some cases, airfield personnel will stand shoulder to shoulder and walk down the runway looking for things..

Chambers applied the same general strategy to the city. In its first few years, the FOD Walk focused heavily on fields on the eastern side of the city, where shopping bags and other litter was known to accumulate. The walks were later expanded to include downtown.

Volunteers are what make the effort a success every year. Each person who was out picking up litter on Thursday was a volunteer.

Groups of volunteers from local businesses were among the cleanup crew. McClure Engineering Co., CJ Bio America, MidAmerican Energy and Kingsgate Insurance were among the local businesses represented during the hunt for litter.

Those people and businesses deserve our gratitude for making our city a bit cleaner. Credit is also due to Chambers, who pioneered the FOD Walk,

Another FOD Walk is being planned for July to give the city another good cleaning before thousands of bicyclists arrive on July 26 for RAGBRAI. We encourage everyone to volunteer some time to help with that cleanup effort.


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