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Waco homeless man spends his days keeping roadways clean

Posted at 8:13 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 21:13:45-05

WACO, TX — Over half a million people in the U.S. are homeless any given day, some of whom you may see panhandling on the side of the road.

But what you may not see is how one man, Michael "Pops" Romero, is using his struggle to keep our community clean.

"Every day I see this man out here doing what he needs to do to take care of his family and makes sure what needs to get done gets done," said Cole Balgord, a fellow homeless man.

Pops is often seen on the intersection of Jack Kultgen and New Road

"We usually get up every morning around 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning. I'm out here every morning, every morning right here. We're out here grinding and panhandling for our room every day, me and my two boys," he said.

And if you walk a mile in his shoes, what you find may surprise you.

"I'm out here cleaning up, trying to make it look a little bit better," said Pops.

He has been helping clean up garbage along I-35, without being asked.

"I figure I'll fill up about four trash bags from that area right here to the Motel 6. A bunch of plastic, foam, about a hundred face masks on the side of the highway. If you come back later today, take a picture of this. It'll all be clean," said Pops.

His efforts have even motivated other homeless people.

"He's definitely inspired me to help me clean up the area when I see him doing it," said Balgord.

Pops hopes to help shed new light on who homeless people truly are.

"Homeless are some of the best and awesome people you'll ever meet. I just hope it reaches people and touches their heart," he said.

Pops says because using public dumpsters could get him in trouble, he hopes the City can find time to swing by and pick up the bags full of garbage he's collected.