By Caroline Carpenter / ADOT Communications
With Father’s Day around the corner, many are searching for that perfect gift, while some are remembering a father who has passed away. If you’re looking for a unique way to honor a family member and do something for your community, adopting a highway might be right for you.
For the past 17 years the Schlecht family has been cleaning up a stretch of State Route 72 in La Paz County. They began participating in ADOT’s Adopt a Highway program in 2002 after Tom, the youngest of 10, passed away from cancer. When their parents, Don and Phyllis Schlecht, died, the sign dedication was changed to “Dad, Mom & Brother Tom.”
The Schlecht family grew up together in North Dakota. Now they gather several times each year to pick up litter along their 2-mile segment south of Parker, near the State Route 95 junction. The photo above shows the five Schlecht brothers next to their family’s Adopt a Highway sign. The family tells us the process has evolved over the years and often includes more than just immediate family members. Friends and former classmates from North Dakota have joined in.
Pat Schlecht says their parents taught them about the value of hard work and to care about the environment. According to Pat, “I know that Mom, Dad and Tom would be proud that we continue to gather and share with each other memories and stories from home as we work alongside each other. More people should get involved in this process, as it is easy to do, does not require much expenditure and the return is many fold.”
Whether you’re looking to remember a cherished family member or want to honor a veteran who has served our country, adopting a highway in the name of your loved one can be a way to remember them and improve your community. There are currently more than 400 Adopt a Highway memorial segments across the state. Visit the ADOT website to learn more about the Adopt a Highway program. An interactive map will show you which highway segments are available to adopt.
Source: Arizona DMV