Local Resident Stan Schenher Has Kept Roads Clean For Nearly 15 Years
Writer: Josh Brown
Photographer: Ron Wise
For nearly 15 years, Fishers resident Stan Schenher has become a face of the community. Somebody that almost everybody knows or has at least seen around here. And how could you not see him?
Most days, Schenher dons a highlighter yellow shirt and his bright red St. Louis Cardinals hat, then he hits the road to pick up trash. It is a hobby that, despite turning 68, Stan has continued with no plans to stop anytime soon. The hobby started out as an idea while out on his weekly runs to stay active. He’s been called The Trashrunner, but nowadays Stan is seen walking the roads or sometimes riding his golf cart with his grandkids, trash picker out and a keen eye on grabbing trash that most people wouldn’t even see.
“I’ve picked up trash since I was in my late teens, early twenties,” Schenher says. “But I really got into it more in the last 30 years or so, wherever we’ve lived. I’ve adopted three streets this year and am getting a fourth one. I used to be called The Trashrunner. I had a hip replacement when I turned 65 though and became more of the Trashwalker.
“My next phase is likely to become the Trashcrawler,” Schenher jokes. “I just like picking up trash and trying to keep the roads clean. It is a fun thing to do and something I’ve just always enjoyed doing.”
Schenher mainly patrols three roads that he’s adopted: 116th St. to 101st, Brooks School Rd and 106th St. from Geist to Fall Creek. It certainly is not a hobby that Stan does for praise.
Schenher estimates about 75 percent of the trash he picks up isn’t seen by drivers or others running or biking along the roads. But that doesn’t bother him one bit.
“I just do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Schenher says. “I get frustrated because if you drive in some of these other areas closer to downtown and down Binford, it looks terrible sometimes. People like to complain about trash on the roads, but nobody wants to touch it or pick it up. I try to do my part and pick it up.”
Schenher has been a Hoosier for quite a while now. Stan and his family moved to Northern Indiana in 1980 and lived in the Castleton area. Around 1993-95, his family moved to 96th Street, and he has now lived in the Hamilton Proper area in Fishers for about 14 years.
The Schenhers have three daughters and eight grandkids (with a ninth on the way) — all living in Fishers.
“We like this area and this community a lot,” Schenher says. “We’ve really never wanted to live anywhere else since we’ve moved here.”
Sixty-five was a year that almost did Stan in. Not only did he have the hip replacement, but he also had four bouts of gout, four sinus infections and prostate surgery.
“I never knew why it all happened, but then I found out later that my parents never bought the extended warranty on me and it ran out at 65,” Schenher jokes.
Nearly three years removed from the hip replacement, Schenher, for the most part, is getting around just fine. He has weekly walking goals, and, most weeks, he walks about 20 miles spending roughly 10 to 15 hours each week picking up trash.
And, yes, he does it year-round — rain, snow or shine.
“Some guys play golf, some play tennis, I just like picking up trash,” Schenher says. “The older I get, it is kind of my hobby. I do this every day. When I ran, I used to have to take a couple days off. Since I’m walking now and have slowed it down, I don’t have to take any time off. It is my form of exercise and something that I try to do to help out in a small way.”
Stan’s hobby is one that doesn’t go unnoticed. Most days, drivers passing him on the road honk and wave, and he says those small gestures of encouragement keep him going. One time, in particular, a car stopped on the side of the road and a child jumped out and ran over to bring Schenher a card thanking him for the work he was doing.
The Fishers Department of Public Works has even helped out by picking up the bags of trash Schenher leaves after a day’s work.
Aside from general worries that his wife has of him being along the roads each day, Stan’s family supports his hobby as well. Every once in a while, some of Schenher’s grandkids will tag along with him on the golf cart and jump out to grab trash.
As you might imagine, Schenher has picked up all kinds of trash over the years. He’s found phones, clothing, pillowcases, car parts, shoes, purses, wallets, your standard paper, cans, plastic cups and more. Phones, he says, are found more often than you might think as people leave them on top of their car before getting in and they slide off once they start driving. Stan is always keen on getting those types of items back to their owners.
Overall, Schenher has a simple message for those who litter, even when they think it is something “small” or not that bad.
“Just keep it in your car until you get home,” he says. “Everyone has a trash can. I don’t consider myself an environmentalist wacko, but I think all of us have to do our part to keep the environment clean. I just believe in trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. If everybody did a little, nobody would have to do a lot.”
Next time you see Stan, honk or wave and thank him for the little he does each day that makes a big difference.