SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- To protect and serve — our officials do as much as they possibly can with the resources they have, but cleaning up our wooded areas sometimes takes a backseat.
One man in Snohomish is making it his mission to serve by cleaning up his community, and he hopes he protects others while he’s at it.
Shayn Bancroft stumbled upon a couple of used needles in Snohomish, and that was all it took for him to want to make a change.
“I tried to locate a group of people who are responsible for picking up the needles and everything else and I couldn’t find one,” he said. "My birth mother was a drug addict and an alcoholic."
Shayn didn't waste any time after that. He went to Snohomish Mayor John T. Kartak who said, “his vision is to be able to be there so that if somebody sees any garbage that starts building up, then his team can come through and clean it up."
Bancroft's plan includes cleaning up the city, and the mayor is on board.
“When I think of Shayn, I just want to put my hand on my heart," Kartak said. "He is everything that I would hope one of my sons to be, and he’s just really stepping up to the plate.”
Stepping up to the plate, wielding his tools, ready for whatever is in store, and so too are people like Sara Thein who answered Shayn's call on Facebook.
“Knowing that someone is doing that here in our local community, I definitely wanted to contribute to that cause,” she said.
Sara is a hiker, and she likes to leave each space better than it was when she found it.
“One of my mottos is that no piece of trash is too small,” she said.
Shayn's passion and her faith in humanity led Sara to this project.
“I don’t think people are inherently trying to do stuff like this," she said. "I think everybody is trying their best with the tools that they have.”
So, whether it's due to passion, inspiration, or heartache like in Shayn's case, he says, “it’s just how my heart works. Usually, when I see something like that, I’ll break down inside but I won’t show it, because it's hard to see. My birth mother was a drug addict and an alcoholic. I was very upset with her for over 20 years. I chose to forgive her when I was 21.”
It could be something else driving his cause.
“I wanted to prevent others from accidentally getting hurt from these things, and maybe becoming interested in trying drugs," he said. "So, anything I can do to prevent people from going that way, I’ll do.”
Whatever the cleanup task may be, Shayn Bancroft may just show up to clean up, and of course, to serve and protect.
Shayn hopes the program he is creating with help from the City of Snohomish will expand to other communities.