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Cleaning California highways while simultaneously helping parolees | Everyday Heroes

The trash abatement program helps former inmates like Gary Harris get real-world working experience. Harris loved the program so much he took on a supervisor role.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Everyday Heroes are all around us and ABC10 wants to highlight the work they do. Every week our viewers nominate people and organizations making a difference in our community. This week we want to introduce you to Gary Harris. He’s mentoring parolees and cleaning California highways.

After months of social distancing, Caltrans litter abatement contractors are back to work. Site Supervisor Gary Harris works for Center for Employee Opportunity, a Caltrans litter abatement contractor, and work has been piling up for Harris and his crew.  

“Because the few months of not being out here, it’s disgusting,” said Harris. “One hundred bags aren’t very hard to get in 8 hours. One hundred bags, it’s a lot!”

Good thing for Harris, picking up trash is his passion. In a way, it saved his life. The trash abatement program helps former inmates like Harris get real-world working experience. Harris loved the program so much he took on a supervisor role and manages a crew of parolees. 

A big part of his job is mentoring and counseling. 

“I have a passion to help others who have gone through what I have. Nobody can help you unless you are ready,” said Harris.

Picking up road trash is a dirty job, but Harris says his crew is happy to do it.  

"They’ve done something in the past that they paid the price for. Same as I did. And all we want is to become a part of society. To do the right thing," Harris said.

Harris and his litter abatement crew are Everyday Heroes for keeping our roadways clean. 

If you want to nominate an Everyday Hero, email John Bartell jbartell@abc10.com

Read more Everyday Heroes from ABC10

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