KENDALLVILLE — A year ago, Kendallville resident Gabe Argueta weighed 340 pounds and was due for surgery after an accident cracked his ribs and aggravated a long-standing back problem.
To prepare for the operation, he began walking outdoors for exercise, frequently taking the Noble Trails Fishing Line Trail.
“It was a good place to go for peace, togetherness and exercise,” Argueta said, describing her trail running experience since 2021 as a spiritual journey.
He now weighs 120 pounds less, walks 3-4 miles every day, and is grateful. On Sunday, he decided to take care of nature as she did.
Argueta packed his backpack with 40 trash bags and filled 19 with trash he picked up on a mile-long section of the Fishing Line Trail near CR 600E. He was also thinking of celebrating the vernal equinox.
He wasn’t looking for any fame, but he was spotted at work by two Noble County board members. They posted their thanks and photos of Argueta on the Noble Trails Facebook page.
“It’s important to get out. I believe in taking care of the land,” he said on Monday. “I believe that nature heals.”
Argueta filled each bag, placing them near the road so Noble County Disposal could retrieve them. He worked from noon to 5:30 p.m.
“It was a lot of glass bottles, fast food scraps and liquor bottles,” he said. “And two places with meth waste. The Kendallville police get it.
“I took five minutes to a place to collect the glass bottles.”
Glass bottles are recyclable.
Argueta said his friends will help him clean up the other side of the trail in the near future.
“Take care of the woods and they will take care of you,” he said. “The fact is that nature heals the soul.”
Argueta works at Flint & walling, loves gardening and is an avid mushroom hunter in addition to running. He said he achieved his personal goal of running 20 miles last week,
He plans to volunteer again on Tuesday, April 26 for the Rotary Club of Kendallville Cleanup Day for the Fishing Line Trail. Volunteers should meet at 5 p.m. at Kendallville VFW, 127 Veterans Way and Lima Road (SR 3); dress for the weather and bring gloves.