Long-time festival volunteer recognized by Aledo City Council

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Although the Mayor's Report portion of the agenda for Monday's (April 4) meeting of the Aledo City Council's Committee of the Whole Meeting read "Presentation by Glen Bennett" it was apparent something was up.

"I have no idea why I'm here," Bennett told a reporter before the meeting began.

Mayor Chris Hagloch ended the mystery.

"I asked Glen Bennett to come this evening," the mayor said. "He's been the city's 'garbologist' for a number of years."

"Thanks," Bennett said, with feigned sarcasm from his seat in the audience.

The mayor presented him with a letter of recognition for his more than 20 years helping keep Aledo clean during the Rhubarb Festival and Antique Days.

Bennett will give up his job, which now is supervising the removal of trash during the two festivals, after this year's edition of Antique Days. He deflected the praise from Hagloch.

"The ones that deserve the credit are the Mercer County Golden Eagles wrestlers," Bennett said.

A group of high school wrestlers volunteers every year to do the physical work of removing the trash.

Referring to the fact he now mostly keeps on eye on things by riding around on a cart, he said, "That's why I'm giving up, my body's worn out."

For Bennett, the unlikely association with festival trash began with a trip he and his wife took around the time they retired from running their own business. Stopping in a town in Iowa similar in size to Aledo, they were appalled by the one trash barrel at the festival there. He described trash high above the barrel, stacked a foot out from the receptacle and "flies."

Realizing the importance of first impressions, he started helping with trash during the Rhubarb Festival when founder Darlene Johnson moved it downtown.

Bennett recalled he wanted 30 barrels the first year he helped, a number Johnson thought probably was too many. It turned out it wasn't and the number has grown until Bennett and his crew will set out 100 this year.

"You ran the show, so we didn't have to mess with it," Hagloch said.

Bennett, in reference to riding the cart as opposed to being as active as he originally was, joked, "See, I'm in management now," which brought laughter from the council.

While no doubt Bennett was pleased with the recognition, he's not the sort to seek it out. In fact, after that portion of the meeting was over, he asked, "Okay, can I leave now?"