Operation Pride USD football team tackles trash

Operation Pride USD football team tackles trash Members of the USD football team collected over 61 tons of trash in lower Vermillion Saturday during the fourth annual Operation Pride. (Photo by Brian Humphrey) by Brian Humphrey The University of South Dakota football team and its coaches couldn't help but smile Saturday morning as they traded in their uniforms and equipment for sweatshirts and work gloves.

The players were the manual labor behind the fourth annual Operation Pride, a beautification project which this year focused on the section of town located below the bluffs.

Phyllis Packard, Operation Pride project coordinator, is impressed with the support the project received.

"It is a real positive because it combines business, the city, the football players as well as the young and the old," Packard said. "So it is a real community project and it could not happen without the football players and a special thank you to Coach (John) Austin."

Packard said many different types of waste were picked up, including old furniture, appliances, separated recyclables, tree limbs and yard waste.

"There were designated teams that picked up designated types of material and delivered it to a truck and then it was unloaded in the landfill or the recycling center depending on what it was," Packard said.

The USD football players collected over 61 tons of unwanted materials Saturday, she said, including 35,000 pounds of old lumber, 25,600 pounds of metal, 9,700 pounds of old tires, 89 pieces of white goods, and nearly 27 tons of refuse, including yard waste and tree limbs.

Scott Bruning, The University of South Dakota assistant football coach, was pleased his players could again help out with Operation Pride.

"They do a nice job. They have been doing this for four years now and they enjoyed coming out Saturday morning," Bruning said. "Phyllis does a great job setting it up for us and we just supply the manpower. They just enjoy it and they do a good job."

Bruning said he was proud of the team for not only their community service, but the way they used this opportunity to come together and bond.

"Hopefully this gives the city a good impression of us," Bruning said. "We get a lot of support from the community. The community supports us by coming to our games and this is the least we can do to give back to them.

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"It is fun and it is a good team bonding thing. They get together and do a little work. It brings us closer together as a team," he said.

Besides the USD football team's help, Operation Pride also received assistance from the city of Vermillion Solid Waste Department, Wells Fargo Bank, Polaris, CorTrust Bank of Vermillion, Century 21/French Realty, Coldwell Banker/Dakota Realty, Herren Schempp Building Supply, Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company, USD Greek Community, Broadcaster/Plain Talk and KVHT FM 106.3 and KVTK AM 1570.

"I would like to thank Coach Austin definitely, Coach Bruning, the entire football team, the drivers and any and all that supported Operation Pride," Packard said.

During the first three years of Operation Pride, over 75 blocks of Vermillion have been cleaned and over 178 tons of trash has been removed.

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