On Friday, August 28 Council Member Dr. G (Dr. Luis S. Gonzalez) presented the CITY TALK “Community Impact Award” to long time Colton residents Mencha Lopez and her daughter Carmen Lozolla for 39 years of recycling. Mencha, and recently her daughter, have been taking walks early in the morning and picking up recycled bottles along the way. Over the years while making his own trash runs, Dr G has crossed paths several times with this awesome twosome and have come to the conclusion that they are not only well-known in the community, but have become community icons for their recycling efforts.
The CITY TALK “Community Impact Award” was recently established to recognize the great efforts that people make “behind the scenes” to make our community, the City of Colton, a better place. “I think Mencha and Carmen are a great choice for this recognition. Their efforts are exactly what this award is about,” smiles Dr. G, a City Council Member and well-known community advocate.
“I have known Carmen for 25 years during my Band Director Days at Colton High,” says Dr. G. She often drove the bus taking his Yellowjacket Band to competitions all around Southern California. This year, Dr. G has also gotten to know Mencha much better, in that they are on similar paths in the morning doing their community collections. Both Mencha and Carmen are long-time residents, and both love helping the community. In the eyes of Dr. G, “they are simply awesome. They are an incredible testimony to citizenship and pride in our community.”
Born in 1935, Mencha, aka “Lorraine,” has been walking the entire 39 years. Carmen joined in after retirement in 2017. “This story is really about my mom,” declared Carmen. Together they pick up aluminum cans, plastic bottles and at times a little trash. Mencha really enjoys seeing and talking to the other early walkers, city workers, and anyone who passes by. Carmen, her daughter, is a retired Driver Trainer/School Bus driver and has working for the Colton Joint Unified School district 38 years.
When asked about their recycling project, Carmen reflected, “in 1972, we used to clean up trash as part of an Ecology class project at Colton High School. We went out to Valley Blvd to pick up trash, clean up our community, and gain some extra grade credits.” Basically, “That idea just stuck with us, and we kept going,“ explained Carmen. “When I became a driver, I also added a recycling program for the students on my school bus,” added Carmen.
For now, future plans are to continue the early walks and the recycling. “My adopted grandsons are starting to recycle,” Carmen boasted, and added, “They are starting to learn about earning money, and learning to appreciate recycling, and keep our community clean!”
For more information about CITY TALK, the trash clean-up, or the online live-stream programs, contact Dr. G @ (909) 213-3730. Questions and comments are always welcome.