‘Thank God I'm Here': Dallas Man's Mission Is to Keep His Neighborhood Park Clean

From across the street, Tim Felix could see the workload ahead.Empty cans shimmered in the sunlight. Paper cups tumbled across the ground. Wrappers, pieces of mail and plastic bags danced in the wind. It was just before 10 a.m. on a Monday at J.W. Ray Park in Old East Dallas."And it's a mess," Felix said, carrying a trash bag in one hand and a trash picker in the other.For the past three years, almost every morning, the 30-year-old makes the short walk from his apartment to clean the park.Not for money.Not for community service.Not for recognition.Felix lives with his mother in nearby public housing. He has a mental disability. Over the years, he's spent a lot of time at that park, listening to gospel music and walking his dog. One day, in 2015, he noticed the things hiding in the grass.So he put on gloves, grabbed a bag and started cleaning.He's found drug baggies, knives, crack pipes and condoms. Under the red monkey bars, he found a gun and called police.On this day, Felix wore an orange traffic vest and turquoise rubber gloves. He silently picked up a handful of Taco Bell hot sauce packets while a group of elementary school students played basketball.The Dallas Park and Recreation Department cleans the park on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. When the weather is nice, Felix cleans it every morning, except Sundays, when he's at church.His disability sometimes makes it difficult for people to understand his words. That's why some kids at the park bully him. Others thank him. They call him Mr. Tim. Regardless, he's eager to get there before they do, for fear they might find something in the grass.  Continue reading...

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