On a recent morning, a city employee stopped her truck along Norfolk Avenue to pick up litter from a downtown sidewalk. Regardless of whether that was her responsibility or whether she was doing it out of the goodness of her heart, she should be commended for setting an example for all to follow.

Simply put, keeping Norfolk beautiful should be everyone’s job.

That should be our mission each day, and the recent Clean the Fork Day in Norfolk further emphasized the need for all citizens to do their part in making the city an attractive place to live, work and play.

Around 35-40 people recognized that need and gathered at Johnson Park to clean up trash at various points along the North Fork of the Elkhorn River. From there, the volunteers spread out along the river to Winter Park, the 13th Street Burger King, the Dollar General on Norfolk Avenue and other areas.

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning participated in the event with his children and called the effort a “good community collaboration” and a tradition he hopes will continue.

“It gives a sense of community pride,” Moenning said. “When we clean, Norfolk looks and feels inviting.”

Event organizer Tony Stuthman pointed out that most of the garbage is blown by wind into the river, so it is important to properly dispose of trash.

“It’s more about getting the kids involved and (thinking) twice about throwing things down in the first place,” he said. “I’d like our city to look nice.”

We agree with those sentiments, and we encourage others to heed that advice.

Don’t throw trash or cigarette butts out your car window. Keep such items in your vehicle until you are able to dispose of them in their proper places.

If you’re out for a walk around town and see trash on the ground, pick it up.

If you’re driving to work and see litter on the road, pull over and try to remove the litter safely.

If you’re taking your dog for a walk, make sure you clean up after your pet.

Take the time to recycle cardboard, plastic bags, aluminum cans and more.

These are just a few suggestions as the adage of “leave it better than you found it” applies to our community as well.

However, we shouldn’t limit our cleanup efforts to once a year or one area of town. Wherever you are, do your part to make the city look appealing — and also take pride in our community at the same time.

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