LIHUE – Shane Vegas loves to fish and play arcade games. But the 25-year-old disabled man has more on his mind than recreational fun.
Vegas has devoted eight years to volunteering at community service organizations, logging 200 hours with the Kauai Humane Society and countless other hours at food banks and thrift stores. But his parents wanted more for him. And he wanted to protect the environment.
“We don’t want any garbage to go in the ocean,” Vegas said.
When his mother suggested he open his own recycling business, Vegas said he was surprised, shocked and excited all at the same time. With donations of collection barrels and plastic bags from the Vocational Rehabilitation Center and business cards designed by his mother, he got busy.
Using an oversized green wagon, he trekked around his neighborhood collecting aluminum cans and plastic and glass bottles. His mother also drives him to Poipu Beach once a week to collect recyclables.
The community thus far has responded to Vegas’ quest to recycle. Many say they don’t have the time to do it and welcome the opportunity to support him.
“It’s easy work,” Vegas said. “I sort ‘em and I get the money.”
Janet Vegas, his mother, said owning a business has boosted his self-esteem.
“It helps him feel better about himself,” Janet said. “We really wanted him to have more to show for his time.”
The 2007 Kauai High School graduate has multiple disabilities and limited hearing in one ear. Recently, he began the Easter Seals sponsored work readiness program.
”We’re real proud of him with what he has done,” Janet said. “He is willing to work and to help his community. But he needs a lot of breaks because he is not able to focus for long periods of time, maybe one to two hours a day.”
The Vegas family adopted Shane from the foster care system after originally welcoming him into their home when he was a day and a half old.
”He is not our biological child but we feel like he is.” Janet said. “They say it takes a village to raise a child and it has.”
To schedule a pick-up with Shane’s Recyclables, call 639-5031 or 332-8492.
Lisa Ann Capozzi can be reached at email@example.com