Thief steals cans from clients of group home

Mesa Developmental Services client and Special Olympian Terry Summers demonstrates the can-crusher used to prepare recyclables that will help fund services at MDS. Melissa Atchley, also shown, is a supportive living services coordinator at MDS.



Some residents at Mesa Developmental Services were crushed when they discovered several bags of aluminum cans missing from their recycling trailer Monday morning.

“It hurts their hard work and their pride,” said Melissa Atchley, supportive living services coordinator for Mesa Developmental Services. “I think that impacted them more than the actual loss.”

The cans were collected as part of the Recycling For Profit program, which benefits Mesa Developmental Services’ athletes who train for Special Olympics Colorado.

In particular, it was a disappointment to clients Dan Amigo, Robert Pratt, and Tony Newland, who are leaders in the program. The three men and a Mesa Developmental Services staff member travel once a week to participating businesses to collect aluminum, plastic and paper. The recyclables are brought to the Mesa Developmental Services facility, where they are sorted, bagged and crushed.

“Dan does the majority of the cans,” Atchley said. “He loves it, and he counts every single one.”

Amigo had quite a large collection gathered Monday morning, ready to be taken to the Waste Management facility in exchange for cash. When they went to get the stash of cans, they were nowhere to be found.

“I just tried to explain to him that we can’t always control what people do, and maybe they needed them more than we did,” Atchley said, adding Amigo was disappointed about the loss of the cans.

The program averages about $15 per week from the sale of the recyclables, an amount that may not seem like much, but it covers many of the training expenses for the more than 200 Special Olympics athletes Mesa Developmental Services assists.

The money pays for incidentals such as entrance fees to the swimming pool, softball field rental or ski passes.

The fundraising program was started in July, and area groups and businesses such as Advanced Pharmacy, StarTek, Mesa Orthodontic Specialists, Emerson School, the Early Intervention Center and Mesa Developmental Services themselves have been saving their recycled material for the cause.

The public is welcome to donate recyclable items to the Mesa Developmental Services building at 950 Grand Ave. Monday through Friday during business hours. Other businesses wanting to participate in the program can call 256-8674 and arrange pickup.


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