Retiring council worker is 'somewhat of an institution'
DES Strong has done more than most to help keep the Fraser Coast clean and tidy.
For almost 27 years he has patrolled the streets of Hervey Bay, most recently with tongs and bin in tow, picking up litter as part of Fraser Coast Regional Council's infrastructure services team.
But after almost three decades, Des has decided to call it a day and will retire - officially - in February.
"I didn't really want any fuss about it all," he said.
"I have enjoyed most of my days at work and I will miss it," he said.
Des actually started as a volunteer with the former Hervey Bay City Council's parks department, which eventually led to a paid position.
"I've had a variety of roles," Des said.
"For a time I was 'stick picking' on the Burrum side of Beelbi Creek.
"I did some time with the roads crew patching bitumen - but for the better part of the last 15 years I have been on litter patrol, which suits me because I like to stay active."
And he plans to keep moving when his working days come to an end, with regular walks along the Hervey Bay Esplanade.
Mayor Gerard O'Connell said Des would be sorely missed when his retirement finally rolled around next year.
"It would be hard to find someone on the Fraser Coast that hasn't seen Des hard at work at some stage or another across the region," he said.
"He has become somewhat of an institution here at council and would have witnessed more changes than most."
"On behalf of my fellow councillors, the executive team and staff right across the organisation, I want to thank Des for all his hard work over the last 27 years.
"He has well and truly earned a break and we wish him all the best in his retirement."