Oakwood Village -- After hearing about projects in observance of Earth Day, a pair of Aurora sisters decided to do something worthwhile to clean up the environment, and they earned high praise from their father and Oakwood Village officials.

"My family was driving on I-271 in Oakwood Village one day and my daughters [Morgan, 14, and Madison, 10] noticed a lot of trash on the freeway side of the east fence," explained David Riedel of Ashton Court.

"They decided that for an Earth Day [April 22] project they'd pick up the trash along a stretch from Interstate 480 to the Broadway exit."

Morgan is an eighth-grader at Harmon School and Madison is in fifth grade at Leighton.

Riedel contacted the Twinsburg mayor's office and got clearance to proceed with the project.

"We showed up at 9 a.m. [April 19] and worked until about 1:20 p.m.," he said. "We didn't quite finish up as much as we wanted, but we filled up 11 bags of trash, leaving them along the highway for the village service department to pick up."

After the day's work was done, the trio visited Village Hall and talked to Mayor Gary V. Gottschalk, who gave the girls money to buy lunch.

"There was quite a difference between what it looked like before we started, compared to afterward," said Riedel. "I'm really proud of my girls for wanting to do this on their own.

"THE GIRLS never stopped in four hours. They never got bored, they never complained and they always wanted to move quicker because we had to be done by around 1 p.m."

Riedel said a couple of policemen stopped by thinking the trio's car was disabled since its four-way flashers were on. "When I told an officer what we were doing, he said, 'Go for it and take your time.'

"I was impressed with the girls' endeavor," Riedel added. "My wife said they'd get bored after a half-hour and want to go home, but that wasn't the case. Thirteen cars even honked at us and gave us waves and thumbs-up signs.

"We took one break and ran up to Wendy's to get some drinks.

"I'm honored to have been a part of it with them. Even the guys at work said, 'You mean to tell me you woke your girls up on a Saturday morning and made them clean up trash?' I told them 'No, they made me get up on a Saturday to clean up the highway!'"

Riedel added the task was done out of the generosity of the girls' hearts, and there was no other reason for them doing it than their own willingness to do something good. "Lunch from the mayor was icing on the cake," he said.

Reidel received an email a couple of days after the first day of the project from Oakwood Clerk of Council Deb Hladky.

"I'm very impressed by your daughters' willingness to serve the community by picking up trash along I-271," she wrote. "I spoke with Council President Johnnie Warren and he would like to present resolutions to your girls at a future meeting."