Yaiders honored for going above and beyond with litter program

Barbara High
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Donnie and Cheryl Yaider display the Volunteer of the Year award they received for going above and beyond with the Adopt-a-Highway program.

KEYSER- For Donald “Donnie” Yaider, a Purple Heart recipient and a Vietnam veteran, as well as his wife Cheryl,  volunteering is a wonderful way to give back. It is something they do without expecting any recognition.

Yet recognition is exactly what they got recently, as they have been honored by the State of West Virginia as Volunteers of the Year.

Every year the W.Va. Department of Environmental Protection  recognizes a volunteer who goes above and beyond, and that is exactly what  Donnie and Cheryl do.

Donnie and Cheryl are part of the Adopt-a-Highway program which encourages service organizations or groups to volunteer to do litter pick-up along state roads. The area is marked with Adopt-a-Highways signs with the name of the group that adopted it. The program is a way for those who take pride in their community to help keep litter to a minimum near where they live.

Donnie and Cheryl are a part of the Knobley Estates Subdivision, which “adopted” Plum Run Road in the Short Gap area. Donnie and Cheryl do most of the pickup for the group, according to friend Gary Klavuhn.  Klavuhn says that although the pickup is only required to be done a few times a year, the Yaiders are out along the road weekly.

“They outfitted their side-by-side with a flashing light and everything and go out and patrol the roads and remove liter that spoils the beauty of West Virgina," he said. Klavuhn added that is why the rest of the group nominated them for the award - because they work so hard and do so much. 

The award is given to one person a year and is chosen out of all the applications they receive. This year the Yaiders were the ones chosen for the state.

Cheryl said that they were very shocked to have received the award, and she and her husband were honored for not only winning, but also for their group even nominating them.

“We do what we do because we like to volunteer and help make a difference,” said Cheryl. “It is a thankless job with not a lot of appreciation, so it was an extreme honor to be recognized."

Cheryl said she and her husband go out every week as long as the weather permits. They are retired and it is nice to get out and be able to do something like that. Cheryl said it is also good to get out into the fresh air, especially during COVID. Even with their health issues, they both get out there and pick up the litter.

They pick up a bag of trash every week on their over a mile of road, and often they go even further and do more.

We have our reachers and we're in our side-by-side, and we get out and make our area a little more beautiful,” she said.

"Volunteering during our retirement years have been important to us and getting recognized for that make it even better," she said.