DC Lawnmower Man braves elements once again for veterans
WASHINGTON (WCIV) -- The one-man cleanup crew who stepped up as non-essential federal groundskeepers sit at home returned to the Lincoln Memorial Friday.Chris Cox garnered national attention when he went out to the National Mall earlier this week to cut grass and pick up trash to pretty things up for veterans attending the Million Vet March this weekend.
"The trash is still piling up," he said in a FaceTime interview Friday. "I don't know what they're going to do."
Even a spot of bad weather isn't keeping him from his work but as he braves wet conditions, his finances are drying up. Cox said Friday that his cleanup efforts are funded entirely out of his own pocket but he doesn't want to take any monetary donations from anyone.He is, however, running out of money and will accept donations of lawn care supplies like trash bags.
"I really just want people's time," Cox said, saying he appreciates people wanting to donate money, but: "I really just need to stand on my own feet."
On Facebook pages supporting him, people from across the country have said they plan on showing up in Washington, D.C., Friday evening with the intent of helping Cox all day Saturday ahead of the veterans' arrival.
Cox pointed out Friday that trash cans that had been emptied were already full again, and that he had yet to see evidence of trash crews back to work around the city, despite a statement from D.C.'s mayor."It's discouraging but I'm not surprised," he said. "Our government is in shambles."
But he said he's not working in the national parks around the city so he can cast blame or point fingers; Cox said this is for the veterans.
"We don't want our nation's capital to look like a ghetto," Cox said.
And Cox said he's learned a few things along the way, including to wear overalls. He said one day's work ended with him covered in tobacco juice from someone's spit cup. Another day he had a mouse run up his sleeve.
"I was doing the shuffle trying to get the mouse out," he said. "I'll never look at a trash can the same way again, that's for sure."
Cox has already cleared trash cans from several hundred yards of walkways around the Lincoln Memorial, but pointed to plenty more trash cans that still needed his attention.
Cox has been featured in newspapers and on television newscasts across the country including Fox News, The Washington Post, ABC News, CBS News, Huffington Post and Buzz Feed.
The work and the national attention has made Cox a little homesick, though. He said he was looking forward to returning to the Lowcountry sometime soon.
His first stop? The new Water Dog Grill in his hometown of Mount Pleasant. It is owned and operated by one of Cox's friends, after all.