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Chad Pregracke’s 1999 cleanup project launches yearly tradition #TBT

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The organization Living Lands and Waters started out as just a group of volunteers trying to clean up the Mississippi River.

The first river clean-up project was in 1999. More than 100 volunteers from around the Quad Cities met up to lend a hand.

And Chad Pregracke, the founder of Living Lands and Waters, was out there leading the mission.  Volunteers helped pick up garbage like paint cans, plastics, and other rejected items.

One volunteer said he just wanted to "go out there and do something" to help out. Another had mixed feelings about the efforts.

"I mean, it makes me glad that I'm helping, but it irritates me that people can't just do it right then and there," the volunteer said. "It shouldn't take a corp of people to have to go clean up after others."

The weather that day was less than ideal, but another volunteer said he just wanted to be out there to help, despite his fear of water and fear of lightning.

Pregracke said he hoped it would become a yearly mission. Looks like it did.

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