CARLISLE, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Pat Strine texted us after we met him, but before the story aired, to update something he had told us.
He has no longer retrieved only 660 tires from the Conodoguinet Creek since 2013. Now — after a kayak trip today — make that 661. Plus a vinyl record.
Strine isn’t bold enough to guess he set some kind of record the day he hauled a 12-foot bathtub, four tractor-trailer tires, two agricultural tires and a four-by-six sheet of corrugated roofing. But he doesn’t think a lot of people in America are more dedicated to cleaning up other people’s trash, for free, than he is.
One measure of that, aside from his meticulous written records of every object, big and small — every tire, yes, but every beer can and plastic cup too — is how as opposed to counting how many days he’s on the creek, as he began doing back in 2013, it’s now easier to count how many days he’s not: just 19 so far in 2022 (versus 245 days on).
His wife of nearly a quarter century, Shari Hoffman, recalls how it started as something fun. Which it still is.
But “now it’s to the point of obsession, I think,” she said. “Which is a good thing for him.”
He has kayaked in temperatures as cold as 18 degrees. Along the way, he has saved a handful of lives, human and animal alike.
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“I am a proud wife,” Hoffman said. “I have a lot to be proud of.”
Strine has made a lot of friends over the years, keeping miles of creek spotless. One of them, Larry Massey, called abc27 News to try to get Strine the recognition Strine himself doesn’t seek.
“Pat’s a heck of a guy,” Massey said. “It’s awesome for the environment. It’s awesome for our neighborhood. And it’s awesome for the creek.”
“If you want change, you’ve got to be the change,” he said. “Ain’t nobody going to do it for you. All the complaining in the world, you got two people: those who look at the trash and complain, and those who pick it up. And I’d rather be the person picking it up.”