If one mans trash is another mans treasure, several treasure chests or pickup beds were filled with assorted trinkets or roadside garbage during a treasure hunt that was held along a two mile stretch of Texas Highway 82 this past June and October. This project was part of Texas Department of Transportations TXDOT Adopt a Highway program and this section was sponsored by Tough Enough to Wear Pink. The endeavor was done in memory of Becky Moorhouse who passed away this past spring after a nine year fight with breast cancer.
The Lone Star States Adopt a Highway program is a quarterly cleanup of two mile sections of highway. TXDOT signs are placed that display the group, organization or individuals that adopted those stretches of roadway. Sometimes these projects are in honor of individuals, as was the case with a two mile section along Highway 82 that Tough Enough to Wear Pink sponsored. This highway courses past the Moorhouse Ranch in northwest Texas.
Due to weather, volunteers schedules and volume of trash, the inaugural pickup was conducted in two phases. Fourteen family members and friends of Beckys, including three cancer survivors, donated their time to this project. They felt it was a great way to honor Becky, a lady about all things pristine in the great outdoors. Over the years she helped create a beautiful ranch headquarters and it was common to pull up and find Becky on her riding mower, working in the yard or watering trees. Picking weeds was an obsession and automatic reflex for her. She fully appreciated everything nature had to offer.
The daughter of a third generation Texas cowboy, Becky was married to rancher Tom Moorhouse and lived most of her life in ranch country. Moorhouse Ranch sits in King County, a 900 square mile area that includes many large ranches. With Highway 82 traversing this county, these Adopt a Highway signs serve as a reminder to motorists of the importance of breast cancer awareness; So what more appropriate stretch of road to clean up in memory of Becky. And with this same county populated by many folks associated with rodeo and western performance horse activities such as cutting and cowhorse competitions, What more appropriate sponsor to have than Tough Enough to Wear Pink! Many horse trucks and cattle trailers traverse this road going from the Dallas, Fort Worth area out to Lubbock.
Beckys sister, Cindy, and her husband, Rayburn, now live at the ranch headquarters. Cindy is an ovarian cancer survivor and has never slowed down one minute since her treatment ten years ago. This beautiful ranch headquarters that Becky helped create remains just as beautiful as always thanks to Cindys hard work. These two sisters shared the same positive outlook on life and love of the lifestyle that ranching communities have afforded them.
Since this highway section had never been adopted before, approximately four heaping pickup loads of sacked up garbage were hauled off by Cotton, one of Becky and Cindys brothers, and Rayburn. Cans, plastic bottles and years of blown out tires were the main items gathered. But a dresser and set of box springs were found hidden in the bar ditch were some of the unique items hauled off. With years of trash being removed this first go, keeping the roadway clean in the future should take less time, bags and volunteers.
Beckys sister in law, Ginger, jumpstarted the project with Cindy last spring and said I have lots of local folks eager to help with future trash pickups; its a matter of coordinating everyones schedules. Plus I have a deep respect for rattlesnake activity so I try and work around the snakes schedules as well! Im a brain cancer survivor and Becky and Cindy have always been very inspirational to me . But Ill never claim to have the endless energy those two demonstrated through their illnesses and treatments! Lacey at Tough Enough to Wear Pink has been wonderful to work with us in helping with the organizations sponsorship of this project. I encourage folks to participate in projects like this wherever they live. This Texas born Adopt A Highway program has spread to 49 states and many foreign countries since it began twenty five years ago.
Hopefully motorists will do these three things when they see these signs on Highway 82, Think of what they can do to promote breast cancer awareness, remember friends and loved ones who have had or are currently dealing with cancer. And quit littering!