(Above) Chad Pregracke, who was named as one of CNN’s Heroes of the Year in 2013, shared his story of cleaning up the Mississippi River with Clear Lake students last week to kick off Earth Month.-Reporter photo by Chris Barragy.
Pregracke turns his personal misson to clean rivers into a national movement
What a difference one person can make.
Chad Pregracke has been on a mission for the last 20 years -- to clean up America one piece at a time. Last week he shared his inspirational story with Clear Lake middle and high school students as Earth Month activities kicked off locally.
Pregracke grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River. The river was his backyard, literally.
“When I was 15, I began commercial shell diving with my brother and over six seasons I was on the bottom of the river 10 hours a day in the dark. I got to know the river from the bottom up and it taught me that the river is alive,” he said.
By the time he was 17, Pregracke was working on tow boats and during his travels on the river he began to see garbage-- tons and tons of garbage, littering the backwaters and shores of the river he loves. He committed himself to doing everything he could to clean up the river.
He eventually realized that more hands could make a greater impact. Armed with photos showing literally tons of garbage in the back waters of the river, he began to call on businesses to sponsor his mission.