WELLSBURG - For 20 years, the Wellsburg Lions Club has been working, often with the Brooke High School Leo Club, to make state Route 2 in Wellsburg cleaner and more attractive.
Members of the two groups collect litter along the 2-mile section of highway between state Route 67 and Wellsburg's northern boundary near 29th Street about three times a year as participants of the state Division of Highways' and Department of Environmental Protection's Adopt-A-Highway program.
The anniversary will be noted with a decal on the sign indicating the Lions have adopted that stretch of highway.
Through the program, 25,000 volunteers regularly collect litter on 4,000 miles of highway, according to the state Division of Highways. It has involved more than 1,400 organizations, including civic groups, church, school and Scout groups and others, but anyone age 12 or older can participate.
The volunteers are provided garbage bags, safety vests, traffic warning signs and gloves.
Participants agree to conduct at least three cleanups, each at least 30 days apart, over a two-year period. They are encouraged to participate in statewide spring and fall cleanups but aren't required to do so.
The Wellsburg Lions often have participated in the statewide cleanups, usually aided by members of the Brooke High School Leo Club, one of many Leo Club chapters introduced by Lions International to encourage youth to be involved in community service.
A Leo Club at Wellsburg Middle School was so popular that members formed a new chapter when they moved on to high school. The middle school chapter was led for many years by Diana Illig, the school's librarian and the Wellsburg Lions' first woman member, until her recent retirement.
The Brooke High School chapter was led for many years by teacher Stan Slovekosky, who also has retired. Emily Beall, a teacher at the school and daughter of Wellsburg Lion Charles "Poke" Beall, has since taken over as its adviser.
Over the years Wellsburg Lions Rich Oliver, Tom Brown, Dick Laughlin, Rod McDaniel, Craig Ambrose, Michael O'Brien, Moe Crabtree, Kirt Donley, Ryan Weld and Walter Palmer have been frequent participants.
For information about the Adopt-A-Highway program, call (800) 322-5530 or visit www.transportation.wv.gov/highways/maintenance/adoptahighway.