Making a change in his retirement habits about 12 years ago, Billy Don Bridges, 80, of Adamsville, quit sitting at home watching TV all day and started collecting cans.
(Ed. note: This story was originally published on Jan. 3 in The Courier’s print edition.)
“I wanted to give to St. Jude Children’s Hospital,” said Bridges, who had lived 27 years in Memphis where he became aware of the huge difference the hospital makes for children. “Every time I have enough cans collected to make $200, I send them a check.”
Bridges donated $4,200 to St. Jude in 2018, and a total of $33,670 over the past decade or so.
“The pictures of the children on the donation cards are pitiful. It tugs at your heart,” said Bridges.
Bridges sells the cans at Selmer Recycling where he watches and waits for the best price.
“I try to get 55 cents to 65 cents per pound,” said Bridges. “I mash ‘em in the middle so I get more in a bag. I furnish the gas to drive around. I actually got a smaller pick-up so I’d get better gas mileage. I also furnish 39-gallon bags to store the cans in.”
With a schedule that keeps him occupied seven days a week, rain or shine, Bridges collects cans on the side of country roads and from people who save cans for him.
“It keeps me healthy. I collect from service stations at Adamsville, Crump and some in Savannah,” said Bridges, who now lives to collect cans. “People at the courthouse in Savannah save cans for me. I walk down by the river on Sundays to pick up cans.”