Man picks up tabs for charity

Published: April 26, 2007 | 6076th good news item since 2003

After they get their can of beer or pop open, most people don’t give a second thought to that little tab they had to pull.

But Chuck Hoagland does. He has around half a million of them at his Girard home, along with several hundred thousand canceled stamps. All of them will go to charity.

The pull tabs, for example, benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States in Joplin, Mo.

The home provides housing for parents with newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, mothers who have developed illnesses during pregnancy requiring continuous rest and/or monitoring, and families of children with illnesses requiring extended hospitalization or observation or lengthy outpatient treatment.

The idea of collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald Houses started in 1987 in Minneapolis, and the Joplin house began its collection program in 1997.

“I collect the tabs all over town, and sometimes people just give them to me,” Hoagland said. “I get quite a few tabs at church and from the American Legion.”

He said he started collecting in 2002 after he broke his back. “The doctor told me I needed to walk, and I walked up and down the roads,” he said. “I started picking things up.”

He said that many types of cat food cans, as well as canned goods for humans, now have pull tabs. “I wish more people would get involved in collecting them,” he said. “A lot of tabs are going into the trash each day that could be put to good use helping others.”

Hoagland takes other recyclables he finds to Southeast Kansas Recycling Inc. in Pittsburg.

For 25 years he collected canceled stamps for American Legion Post No. 408, St. Paul, Minn. “The man in charge of that project died, so they canceled the project,” Hoagland said.

Now he sends the stamps to the Mosaic program at Bethphage Village, a facility for those with developmental disabilities near Axtell, Neb. Stamps are sold to a collector, with the income shared equally among the clients at the facility.

Hoagland was born in Whindham, N.Y. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 2, 1954. “I was just 17 and my mother didn’t want me to go, but she finally let me enlist,” he said. “I spent three years with the army, got out and was home four months, then I joined the Air Force.”

He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

Hoagland discovered Girard through a friend he met stationed in Wichita. “I came home with him to Girard, and when I met Judy, that was it,” he said. “She graduated from Girard High School in May 1960, and we were married in June 1960. We have two children and six grandchildren.”

He said he worked in printing at Girard for 23 years.

Published in Life
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