VFW Post 11999’s Roadside Cleanup Keeps Cloudcroft Beautiful

by Paul Benshoof


Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 11999 was in action on the morning of April 11, where 11 men and women picked up litter on the east side of the Village of Cloudcroft. Taking place along the roadside of Highway 82 between mile markers 17 and 18, this "Roadside Cleanup” resulted in the collection and disposal of 19 garbage bags of trash. 

Cloudcroft’s local VFW Post "adopted” this one-mile stretch of Highway 82 from the NM Department of Transportation eight years ago.  Since then, Post members, friends, and families have collected trash there roughly twice a year, doing their part to help keep our local area beautiful.

Indeed, Cloudcroft has beautiful landscapes—from its breathtaking national forest and lush pastures to its quaint mountain village.  Our community is surrounded by mountain tops, farmlands, forestry, campgrounds and wildlife.  We live here, work here, and play here.  Unfortunately, though, there are still people who insist on cluttering our picturesque scenery with trash.  State and local governments do not have the resources available to clean up the litter on our roadways, so volunteers are vital in keeping our area clean.  A clean community is not only good for tourism and economic development; it is also a source of pride for all of us who call Cloudcroft home.

It is amazing how much refuse accumulates in this area, but it was no match for the efforts of VFW Post 11999 who donned reflective vests and got to work on that chilly April morning.  "Keeping Cloudcroft clean helps to instill pride in our village,” Post Commander Richard Herold remarked, "and we’re proud to support this Roadside Cleanup Program.

One might recall that state prisoners periodically used to collect this litter, laboring along the roadside under the watchful eyes of guards.  Regrettably, the use of prisoners—along with their required supervision and secure transportation—proved to be too expensive for the state to continue supporting.   Additionally, prison closings and restrictions that kept prisoners from working near schools or businesses helped eat away at the number of miles of road they could clean. "The state looked at that and realized that was not a supportable option anymore,” Herold said.  Clearly, a volunteer program eliminates the state’s financial burden and affords the opportunity to pick up more trash than prisoners were able to accomplish.

In addition to this commitment to community service, VFW Post 11999 is currently preparing to conduct its commemorative services on Memorial Day.  Each year, the Post holds these ceremonies in mountain area cemeteries where veterans have been laid to rest.  They help to remind local communities of the sacrifices that veterans have made to protect our nation’s commitment to freedom. 

The Post tentatively plans to conduct these Memorial Day services on May 25—starting at the James Canyon Cemetery at 9:00am, then moving on to the Mayhill Cemetery at 11:00am, and concluding at the Weed Cemetery at 12:00pm.  All community residents and visitors are welcome to attend.

For updates on future Roadside Cleanups, upcoming Memorial Day ceremonies or other VFW activities, be sure to visit, or contact Commander Herold at or (575) 415-2030.




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