The Broom Brigade cleans up Eureka Waterfront Trail
The Broom Brigade, consisting of both friends and band mates, stands outside of Eureka Old Town business Mantova’s Two Street Music, following their cleanup efforts on a rainy Saturday. The group has been meeting on Tydd Street at 10 a.m. every Saturday, rain or shine, for three months or so. Dan Squier — The Times-Standard
By Dan Squier, [email protected], @eurekaTS on Twitter
For the last three months or so, a group of friends calling themselves “The Broom Brigade” has been meeting at the foot of Tydd Street every Saturday, rain or shine, to clean up trash and debris along the Eureka Waterfront Trail.
“We just figured we could do community service without a court order,” said Doy Antognazzi, a 37-year-old Eureka resident with a tattooed head and a ready smile.
“I grew up drinking powdered milk and orange water at St. Vinnie’s,” Antognazzi said during a phone interview Friday afternoon. “I’m from here and we want to show the rest of the community we can keep this place clean. I love Eureka.”
Antognazzi plays in a few of local bands — Muppet Hunter, Death Mode Trippers and Not Ewe — and bass guitarist Jeff Simovich, said picking up trash on Saturdays is about both being in a band and helping the community.
“We want everybody to enjoy the trail, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to grab a little trash, and it makes a huge difference,” Simovich said. . “Doy is my band mate, and he’s doing a great thing, and it’s a chance for me to get some exercise and help the community at the same time. It’s a win-win.”
Antognazzi uses the weekly cleanup effort as a way to teach his son, 13-year-old Billy Rutherford, about responsibility, for yourself and for your community.
“You’ll find my name in the bad section of the paper if you go back a few years,” Antognazzi said. “I want him to be a good guy who does good things.”
The Broom Brigade has established a solid relationship with Mantova’s Two Street Music, where the group met Saturday afternoon following a rainy day of cleanup. After the group first began its weekly routine, Anthony Mantova donated a garden cart, which has been modified by Antognazzi and is used to pick up bulkier items found on the trail.
“It’s a great way to reach out to younger people,” Mantova said while standing in front of the store on Saturday afternoon. “We help these guys as we can, whether it’s a bit financially or by donating equipment. We want to help keep this weekly cleanup effort going.”
Brandon Allday, who has a newborn at home, pointed to the teenagers in the group as motivation for his participation. Many of the adults in the group know the perils of addiction and use the cleanup effort to guide the younger folks
“They see the adults out there picking up used needles and filling the sharps containers and maybe they will be less likely to do [drugs],” Allday said. “There’s a few of us that got involved with addiction and we don’t want to see the kids we care about follow the same paths.”