The former gold mining town of Congress is found at the junction of State Routes 71 and 89 in northwestern Arizona. Large mining operations haven’t existed here since the 1930s, but one volunteer group in the area still finds treasures of another kind.
John King, a member of the First Baptist Church of Congress and Adopt a Highway volunteer group, talked to me about a couple of the most interesting items found by group members. Tom Boyles, the church treasurer, spotted a $20 bill along the highway. Boyles insisted it be deposited back into the church coffer. You can spot Tom’s find in the photo on the right captured by Pastor Paul Gleason.
That incident was topped nearly two years ago when volunteer Ray Monlux found a working cellphone. John had a compatible charger for the phone and was able to access a few phone numbers, making it possible to return the phone to its owner. The real surprise came when they learned the owner lived a couple of miles up the road and the phone was lost seven months before Ray found it!
It is not unusual for this group to collect 10 or more bags of litter during an outing. According to King, the volunteer group shown in the photo changes between 11 and 30 members. Winter visitors are always welcomed and increase participation.
Sure, the group has found a few treasures over the years, but what’s even more impressive is the positive difference made with each cleanup in their community throughout the year. While mining no longer exists in Congress, there are certainly hearts of gold found in these volunteers.
Arizona has hundreds of unadopted miles available that could use your help. If you are interested in starting your own group please visit the ADOT Adopt a Highway webpage.
Source: Arizona DMV