“Meet Our Volunteers” is designed to highlight the dedicated volunteers of Sebastian Inlet State Park.
Tuesday mornings, slowly and steadily, Janice and Brad Marx walk the perimeters of A1A, their bright orange vests identifying their presence, their white buckets, and pincers in hand, and heads down identifying their mission: they are removing trash from the park land south of the Inlet bridge. This couple has accumulated over 5,000 hours of service during this volunteer work and were even chosen as Volunteers of the Month for all of District 3 during this time.
Asked if their work goes unnoticed, they mention occasional passing drivers waving or honking. Brad especially remembers one man who stopped and gave them each a Buffalo nickel. Brad adds, “The man told us he stops whenever he sees someone doing a good deed and gives that person a Buffalo nickel. These rare nickels were minted between 1913 and 1938. Since the man is a coin collector, this was his way of giving someone valuable to someone else doing something valuable.” And “valuable” does characterize what they are doing. Though both view their jobs as “kind of fun”. Often, they watch terns and gulls swooping after fish; schools of bait fish alive on the surface, bright white in the morning sun; and dolphins surfacing over the waves.
Brad and Janice first started volunteering at the Inlet thirteen years ago. Jerry Hutchko, then principle organizer of volunteer services, asked them if they would like “to do the river walk.” They soon discovered that the walk focused on trash removal but were surprised to find a $20 bill the first day they walked the four-mile, roundtrip south of the bridge. Brad laughs and speculates, “Jerry probably put the bill along the highway as an incentive.” Janice adds, “So each time we start our work, we ask ourselves, ‘What will we find today?’”
For both, volunteering has been a part of their lives for years. It started when their children were growing up, they volunteered with the local scouting club.
With their white buckets and pincers, the Marxes embody the best in volunteerism. If you are driving down A1A on Tuesday mornings and see these two give them a honk and a wave to show appreciation for what they do.