Roaring Fork Valley resident Bob Rugile has been taking it upon himself to clean the streets of downtown Basalt since he moved here in 1993, and the pandemic hasn’t slowed him down.
“What I like is that Basalt is relatively small and one person can make a difference,” Rugile said.
On a recent day, Rugile was using a broom, shovel and dustpan to sweep up a pile of leaves and debris in front of Cafe Bernard on Midland Avenue.
“Being without a job right now, I have plenty of time on my hands,” Rugile said. “So, I've gotten a little more accomplished this year than in years past.”
Rugile is a professional photographer and a station agent for American Airlines, but there hasn't been much work because of COVID-19. He said tidying the town is a labor of love.
“When I'm working downtown, just cleaning up, I get that feeling of satisfaction,” Rugile said. “I started the job and I finished it. It's rewarding.”
The Town of Basalt uses their own street sweeper machine, but Rugile said it doesn’t reach all the corners and tight spots around the neighborhood.
“I take a certain pride in our town and I guess I feel a little bit responsible for it,” he said.
Rugile emphasized he doesn’t do it for the attention. He just likes the town to look sharp.
“I want it to look good so that when people do come, tourists or any residents, that they can share that same feeling I have about Basalt,” he explained.
Rugile said he’s noticed a lot of locals stepping up and doing what they can for the community during the pandemic.
“There are people that are helping out their neighbors that maybe have compromised health and don't want to go out to the supermarket,” he said. “It just makes for a tighter-knit community.”
Rugile said citizens looking out for each other is what Basalt is all about.