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7's HERO: Nampa man organizes trash clean up at Lake Lowell

Juan Martinez recruited his family to help him clean up the trash that was bothering him along Lake Lowell. He says it feels amazing to give back to his community.

NAMPA, Idaho — A Nampa man recruited the help of his family and friends to clean up trash at Lake Lowell, where he has been fishing and recreating since he was a child.

Juan Martinez has always loved fishing on Lake Lowell. 

"Well, I really love fishing, it's something I enjoy doing in my free time, and it's something that my kids have had a hard time enjoying because of all the trash around the area when I take them," Martinez said. "I remember when I was a kid, there wasn't so much trash. So that's how it started, coming out here to clean it up for them." 

Every Sunday afternoon, Martinez can be found walking along the lake, carrying a trash bag and cleaning up trash. His family isn't far behind. 

"We started with Lake Lowell on the Caldwell side over by the pump house. We went down across the road there, and we ended up getting 25 bags of trash from there all the way to the park," he said. "Now we are over here on the other side of Lake Lowell on the Nampa side."

Martinez created a special Facebook page so that more people can be a part of the effort and is hopeful more families will join him. 

"I post the clean-up information on Saturdays. For example, where I'm going to be, it's always from 3-4 on Sundays," Martinez told us. "The more I've been doing it, the more my family has started to enjoy coming out. My sister, my cousin and his daughters, and I've had a few families come out and join us as well." 

A recent post about the Martinez family and their clean-up efforts went viral on Facebook. He was stunned that so many people appreciated what he is doing. 

I want to introduce you all to Juan Martinez of Nampa. He and his family have been working hard and cleaning up the...

Posted by Maggie O'Mara on Monday, April 19, 2021

"I really didn't want the attention, but to have the awareness that trash needs to be picked up? That's what I was shooting for," Martinez said. "My plan is to hit this area all summer long. I want to get Wilson's Ponds, and I want to get to all the areas locally around here."

This project means so much to Martinez. He has had a troubled past, some run-ins with the law, and struggles with addiction. Today, he's clean and sober and in recovery. He said he owes it all to his faith and his family. He's grateful for this new life, and a chance to give back to a community that he loves so much. 

"I think this is something that keeps me busy. Community service is always a great thing," Martinez said. "I know that it's an important part of my life, to keep me on track, and to teach my kids the right things to do. Just a little bit of community service goes a long way." 

Martinez plans to keep on working to clean up his community, one bag of trash at a time.

"We have a very beautiful place to live here in Idaho, and I just want to keep it that way for everyone," he said. 

If you'd like to join in the effort to clean up with Martinez and his family, go to his Facebook group

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