|1-800-GOT-JUNK: From Wakefield to Bolivia
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March 5th, 2006
Wakefield resident Don Valerio knows firsthand that one manís trash is another manís treasure. As a franchise partner of North Americaís largest junk-removal service, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Valerioís livelihood is based on the trash of others.
While Valerio says his company donates to many local charities, he was recently able to assist the humanitarian mission of fellow Wakefield resident Paula Moran.
Moran is an American Airlines gate agent who also volunteers as the regional coordinator for the nonprofit organization Airline Ambassadors International. The organizationís mission is to provide aid to children and families in need as well as international relief and development to underprivileged communities throughout the world.
"I have been coordinating trips to Bolivia every six months for the past three years," said Moran. "I have been an Airline Ambassador since 1999. I have been a participant on many missions including trips to El Salvador and Guatemala. But, overall, I have been visiting Bolivia for over six years.
"Bolivia doesnít seem to get as much aid as the other countries do because itís a little bit more difficult to get to," he said. "Itís hard to work in Bolivia because of the high altitude. I have set up some good connections there and have identified some areas where we can really make a difference."
Airline Ambassadors was created by airline employees who use their travel benefits to visit various impoverished countries.
It was Moranís husband, Stephen Richardson, who first approached one of the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? truck drivers for potential donations. Eventually, the request made it to Valerio and he was able to contribute a handful of wheelchairs. Originally, however, Valerio was unsure if his company would be able to donate to Moranís cause.
"Wheelchairs are something that we donít commonly come across," said Valerio. "And then a few weeks after learning about Paulaís need for them, we stumbled upon some and were able to donate."
-800-GOT-JUNK? is a professional waste removal company that collects items that may be considered difficult to discard. The company acquires the waste for proper disposal and recycling.
By Chris Carpenter