CNN: Hero of the Year Top 10 Finalist: In the past 15 years, 38 year old Chad Pregracke has helped pull more than 67,000 tires from the Mississippi River and other waterways across the US. But that’s not all that Chad has cleaned out of our waterways. How about: 218 washing machines, 19 tractors, 12 hot tubs, four pianos and almost 1,000 refrigerators- all unwanted – all dumped into rivers. Chad grew up in Illinois and the Mississippi River was in his backyard. As a teenager, he worked as a commercial shell diver and began to notice the heaps of debris in the Mississippi. The nonprofit, Living Lands & Waters, started by Chad, has around 70,000 volunteers helping him collect more than 7 million pounds of debris from waterways. Close to 90% of what they recover is recycled. The rest of the ‘junk’ gets disposed of properly. FYI: The Mississippi River supplies drinking water to 18 million people in more than 50 U.S. cities. Even 100 miles away, (trash) will find its way into a creek or a storm drain. www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/cnnheroes-pregracke-rivers-garbage/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
*Chad Pregracke is one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013. You can vote for Chad, or any of the other top 10 Heroes at www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/ Hero of the Year will receive $250,000 to continue their extraordinary work.