CLEAN WATERS: Quad Cities Man A Finalist For CNN Hero

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One Quad Cities man making a difference was nominated as a Top Ten CNN Hero of 2013.

Chad Pregracke of Moline, Ill. was nominated for his years of work spent cleaning up the Mississippi River.

As the Founder of Living Lands & Waters, Pregracke told CNN he has found refrigerators, tractors, hot tubs and much more in the Mississippi River.  Though he started cleaning the river by himself, to-date more than 70,000-volunteers have helped Pregracke pull over 7 million pounds of debris out of the Mississippi.

Pregracke shared his story with students at St. Ambrose University as part of the school’s year-long sustainability project series.  He spoke with the students Wednesday night about his mission to clean up the river that started 16 years ago by picking up one piece of garbage at a time.

“What’s cool about that crowd is they’re right at the age when I first started.  It would be cool to come back in 10 or 15 years and see somebody from that group and what they went on to do,” Pregracke said.

“This is one aspect of a larger spectrum of issues having to do with the environment but it is a very important one,” said Father Bud Grant of St. Ambrose University.

“You start local, you start in your backyard and the Mississippi happens to be our backyard,” Grant said.

The CNN Hero voting will continue through Sunday right from CNN’s website.  The winner will be revealed by CNN on Dec. 1 and will receive $250,000 to continue their efforts.

For more information on Pregracke and the other finalists’ efforts or to vote for the CNN Hero of the Year, visit the CNN website here.

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