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Clean Sweep View Comments
By Charity Vogel

Lake Erie has no better friend than Sharen Trembath. Each year this environmental dynamo
assembles hundreds of volunteers to clean the beaches she loves.
FOR SHAREN TREMBATH, the revelation came one Easter Sunday.

As was their usual custom, the Trembath family— Sharen, her husband, Jim, and their three children, Jenna, Jim Jr., and Jeff—were taking a walk down the sandy beach of Lake Erie near their home in Angola, New York.

Sharen spotted it first: a dialysis bag. A trained medical assistant, the then- 40-year-old mom knew what she was seeing bobbing in the rippling waves that brushed the pebbly shoreline.

Seeing medical waste on the beach bothered Sharen. But what frustrated her even more was the fact that the bag was not the first one she had seen in walks with her kids along Lake Erie.

“I had already found 19 bags. The 20th was the one that pushed me over the edge,” recalls Sharen, now 66, her blue-green eyes alive at the memory.

“All the tubes were there on that bag—everything. And I was mad. I kicked the bag into the water. My son said, ‘Mom, what are you doing?’ I said, ‘Nobody cares.’ And he said, ‘We do.’”

That moment, in the spring of 1985, changed Sharen’s life. It certainly changed her community in upstate New York. It also changed the health and cleanliness of this corner of the Great Lakes region.

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Charity Vogel, PhD, is a writer who lives with her husband and family near Buffalo, New York. Email her at cavogel@buffalo.edu.

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Giles: Despite the fact that much about St. Giles is shrouded in mystery, we can say that he was one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages. Likely, he was born in the first half of the seventh century in southeastern France. That is where he built a monastery that became a popular stopping-off point for pilgrims making their way to Compostela in Spain and the Holy Land.<br /><br />In England, many ancient churches and hospitals were dedicated to Giles. One of the sections of the city of Brussels is named after him. In Germany, Giles was included among the so-called 14 Holy Helpers, a popular group of saints to whom people prayed, especially for recovery from disease and for strength at the hour of death. Also among the 14 were Sts. Christopher, Barbara and Blaise. Interestingly, Giles was the only non-martyr among them. Devotion to the "Holy Helpers" was especially strong in parts of Germany and in Hungary and Sweden. Such devotion made his popularity spread. Giles was soon invoked as the patron of the poor and the disabled.<br /><br />The pilgrimage center that once drew so many fell into disrepair some centuries after Giles' death. American Catholic Blog During this month of September, as we celebrate four feasts of Our Lady, let us learn from her: humility, purity, sharing, and thoughtfulness. We will then, like Mary, become holy people, being able to look up and see only Jesus; our light and example will be only Jesus; and we will be able to spread his fragrance everywhere we go. We will flood our souls with his Spirit and so in us, through us, and with us glorify the Father.

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