Mary Shaw planned to wear her tank top and yoga pants to the “Don’t Mess with Texas” Trash-Off on Saturday.
Temperatures in the 40s and gusty winds — along with misty rain — ruined that plan.
“The wind is something horrible,” said Sandra Thomas, another of the volunteers who gathered in the Copperas Cove Public Library parking lot before dispersing to sites around the city.
Thomas was glad she wore nylon trousers to keep out the cold. “I like being outside, but not so much today.”
Knit caps, thick gloves and layers of clothes were well in evidence among the more than three dozen people who volunteered locally for the statewide event.
Silvia Rhoads, executive director of Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, which organized the local effort, had hoped for a larger turnout than the 84 volunteers last year.
She did have donuts and hot coffee available for the volunteers, and followed up the tasks with a cookout at Heritage Park.
Some volunteers were members of the Williams/Ledger Elementary School student council and their parents.
“We’re toughing it out,” said Edith Natividad, a paraprofessional at the school, as some of the children huddled together for warmth or waited in their cars.
Other volunteers were newly crowned royalty from the Five Hills Scholarship Pageant.
Teams of volunteers picked up trash along Business U.S. Highway 190 near Walmart and the Five Hills Shopping Center, and around Gold’s Gym.
A third team took rollers in hand to paint over graffiti at Heritage Park.
Rhoads reminded the volunteers to double tie the trash bags once they were full, so the wind wouldn’t blow the litter back onto the ground.
Cove’s participation in the Trash-Off was mirrored in Killeen and Harker Heights, along with hundreds of other communities across the state.