Avenger steps back from Vernon needle cleanup

Polson Park cleanups will continue and have grown to other areas

More than 300 needles have been collected from Vernon’s Polson Park in just three months. All thanks to volunteers who call themselves the Polson Avengers who have put in more than 80 hours since mid-April towards creating a safer space for families and individuals.

“It’s very impressive actually, now that I see the numbers,” said founder Kai Eli. “But…I can’t do this any more.”

Eli has been struggling with harrassment and threats ,and is taking a break from the Avengers.

“I need a break. I can’t handle the negative response from park employees and I’m unable to pursue my happiness that was originally in this. I’m not walking away for good but I’ve stressed myself out beyond belief,” Eli told The Morning Star Friday.

He posted a video Tuesday announcing his decision, and frustrations, on the Polson Avengers Facebook page.

“It seems to be that every week we are getting more and more backlash. I didn’t start a volunteer service to help Vernon to constantly argue and fight,” Eli said in his video which has received a lot of attention and dissappointment to see him treated this way.

“April 11 is when I said I wanted to start a big brother type of program in Polson Park because that young boy couldn’t comfortably be there,” said Eli, referring to a letter published in The Morning Star. See the letter here: Park unsafe for youth

While he needs to step back temporarily, the Avengers will continue to make Vernon parks a safer place.

Another volunteer, Al Kranenborg (aka Shockwave) has agreed to take over the reins.

“He (Eli) needs to recharge his batteries, which is fair enough,” said Kranenborg, happy to step up and continue with video posts of the cleanups.

In fact, he has even expanded efforts to other parks including Linear, Kin and an area in the north end of town. And in just two weeks, Kranenborg has collected 99 needles. And it’s not just needles that the volunteers are cleaning up. Garbage and other dangerous items are being removed at their time and expense.

A quick stroll through Linear Park Wednesday and Kranenborg found a needle out in the open on the grass.

“Wow! Seriously, it wasn’t even like three feet from the road,” he said.

While many appreciate the efforts, some aren’t so kind.

“Your services are like a police officer, unneeded,” one street-entrenched individual told Kranenborg. “I know how to take care of my needles.”

Yet Kranenborg reached down and picked up a needle right next to the individual in Linear Park.

Eli applauds the continued efforts of the volunteers, as well as those who show their support.

“I appreciated everyone who has donated to our cause,” he said, adding all monies donated go into supplies to keep the volunteers safe.

Plus Eli adds: “We’re rockin’ our new shirts too.”

Sponsors Redline Rebar and Harris Rebar donated 15 custom shirts for the Polson Avengers in high-vis yellow.

See related: ‘This place is a disaster’

Just Posted

Interior Savings looks to hand out bursaries

Applications open until Feb. 28

Get ready to fill the stands at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Vernon

The festivities get underway Thursday with the opening ceremony

Vernon to see sunny skies for Family Day

Sunny but cool as Environment Canada calls for wind chill of -9 C Sunday, -13 C Monday

SilverStar Emergency Services Day raises funds for hospital

Over $20,000 was raised for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation

Vernon art gallery turns out the lights and throws a party

DJ, drinks and food at Art After Dark Feb. 23

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read