Veterans and active military personnel turned out in droves on Friday to partake in the first Veterans Appreciation Day at the local landfill to receive free disposal services.
Vehicles filled with household garbage stood bumper-to-bumper on Tonsgard Court, inching slowly towards the vehicle scale at Capitol Disposal, a Waste Management Inc. company in Juneau.
“We were almost blocking traffic on Concrete Way at one point,” Capitol Disposal operational specialist Lynn Bartlett said, pointing half a mile down the road.
The landfill offered free disposal of one car/SUV/pick-up truck load of materials in the landfill from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. That service normally has a flat rate of $28.75 for a 61/2-foot pick-up bed or smaller, and $58.62 for an 8-foot pick-up bed.
After tallying up the receipts at the end of the evening, Bartlett estimated 196 people took advantage of the offer, which amounts roughly to $5,635 given away in free services.
“We’re just so pleased, overwhelmed and humbled by the turnout that we had,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett, a longtime Juneau resident and a mother to a 32-year-old son in the Alaska National Guard, Brent Bartlett, was the driving force behind making the free disposal day for veterans happen. Her idea was approved by Capitol Disposal’s area manager and marketing manager, and from there, it worked its way through the company’s chain of command to be approved by the Vice President of Waste Management Western Region, she said.
She noted Waste Management, a Houston-headquartered company that provides garbage collection, transfer, recycling and disposal services through its subsidiaries, is ranked as one of the top 100 companies to work for in the country for veterans and military personnel. The company recently announced a new service for its military and veteran employees, which inspired Bartlett’s idea to honor veterans and active military in the community they serve.
“It just sort of clicked with me,” she said. “It just seemed like a really appropriate way to say thank you to veterans and active military.”
Military families said they were happy Bartlett was struck with the idea. Ron Cropley, an Army veteran, put driving to the landfill on his list of things to do on Friday when he learned about the deal.
“I cleaned out my attic,” he said while waiting in line with his son, Ron Jr., 23, sitting next to him in their car. Ron Jr. made him French toast and bacon in the morning to celebrate Veterans Day, and they planned on going 4-wheeling later in the afternoon.
Ernest Carrillo, a sergeant first class in the Army National Guard, said he cleaned out his garage before heading to the landfill to take advantage of the deal.
“It’s good to see that we’re connected to the community,” he said.
Other businesses in town offered special Veterans Day deals, and Auke Bay Post 25 of the American Legion hosted Juneau’s Veterans Day observance Friday morning at Centennial Hall. At the end of the day, Bartlett said she was worn out from working, but she didn’t mind.
“It was a really long day, but it was worth every minute,” she said. “It was pretty phenomenal.”
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.