Patriots Protect America the Beautiful
Pacific Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9431, NPS
Harry Carpenter, Chief of Maintenance
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9431 of Yucca Valley, California run the recycling program in Joshua Tree National Park. They help make the park a cleaner place, reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and provide resources to needy veterans and their families in the community. As a volunteer organization, the VFW Post 9431 has provided service that has allowed Joshua Tree Nation Park to maintain a pro-active recycling program while permitting NPS staff to focus on other maintenance activities.
Beginning with a pilot program in 1996, VFW volunteers have collected, sorted, and transported recyclable materials from the park year-round. They have never missed a pick-up date. There are twenty-three recycling centers throughout the park. Crews of three or four veterans spend eight to ten hours making the rounds at these centers, no matter how hot it is, driving nearly 100 miles each day to make all the stops. The crew then sorts the collected materials for transport to commercial recycling centers. Over 87 tons of materials have been collected through these efforts to date. Revenues from the sale of collected recyclables support veteran causes and other charities.