Lifestyle

He's one clean sweep

Langley resident Wayne Boddie takes it upon himself to sweep downtown Langley whenever the weather permits. - Jennifer Conway
Langley resident Wayne Boddie takes it upon himself to sweep downtown Langley whenever the weather permits.
— image credit: Jennifer Conway

After years of hitting the books, Wayne Boddie is hitting the streets.

Boddie, a resident of Langley, has made it his personal mission to clean up the streets with his own two hands and a broom. A retired history professor from Atlanta, Ga., he says he was struck by the beauty of Langley the first time he visited friends on South Whidbey several years ago. Now a permanent resident, Boddie plans to keep it that way.

“I feel good when I clean something up,” Boddie said. “I just want to do my part and contribute to a beautiful place to keep it beautiful.”

Boddie and his wife, Kathleen, moved to Whidbey Island in July. After arriving in town, one of the first things he saw while walking downtown was the Langley Community Club’s members cleaning up Second Street. While not yet a member of the club, the club’s activism and pride in their community inspired him to take action in his own time.

As often as the weather permits, Boddie rises early, throws his broom in his pickup truck and hits the sidewalks. He prefers to start early because there is less traffic — from both vehicles and pedestrians. In part, Boddie said he hopes to avoid seeing people to avoid the attention.

“I don’t want to be seen doing it,” he said. “I don’t want people to think I’m doing it to be noticed.”

While methodically targeting a section at a time, Boddie said the sweeping gives him a zen-like feeling. He sees the city is strapped for cash, and knows that sweeping is not likely high on Langley’s public works list of priorities.

As the weather is getting warmer, Boddie hopes to inspire others to join him. With residents doing what they can to keep the city looking its best whenever they have the time, it can build community spirit and strengthen the community’s sense of pride.

“I keep my house clean and I look at Langley as an extension of my house,” Boddie said.

While he didn’t expect to take pleasure in his sweeping crusade, it has proved to be fun. While some people on the street look down and keep moving, others take a moment to share their appreciation.

“I just enjoy it,” Boddie said. “I never thought I would.”

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