Ron Bauman to cash in pop tabs for charity

By WENDY STIVER

wstiver@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — Ron Bauman will be cashing in the many, many pop can tabs he has collected over the past 20 months for charity.

The cash-in date is Monday, Nov. 21, when Dwayne Kunes will take Bauman and his large drums full of tabs to a recycling site in Newberry.

In July 2015, Kunes helped Bauman take three 55-gallon drums full of tabs to Chatham Run Feed Mill for a weigh-in. After weighing an empty drum, the feed mill team weighed the three full drums and determined that Ron had collected 492 pounds worth of tabs.

Based on that weight, those three drums contain more than 600,000 tabs.

More than a year later, Bauman has managed to fill five more drums with tabs, for a total of eight. He expects the total weight will easily exceed 800 pounds, meaning he has collected more than 1 million tabs — the number might be 1.5 million or even higher.

Bauman considers this a fun accomplishment, even though in today’s market, the tabs are worth only 35 cents per pound. He said he would be satisfied if they bring in $260, but it is possible they would bring in more than that.

He plans to deliver the money to the Ronald McDonald House in Danville sometime in December. He is looking for a ride so that he can personally deliver this special Christmas gift to “the house that love built.”

Bauman collects aluminum cans, and that is how he has accumulated the lion’s share of all these pop tabs. He works at it Monday through Saturday, walking about and collecting the cans from various sources and taking them home where he pops off the tabs, crushes the cans and bags them

The cans are worth 55 cents a pound (more than the tabs), and will benefit his church, Flemington First Church of Christ.

Ron currently has a large number of bags filled with cans — so many that they have taken over his garage. He can no longer work on this project inside the garage because there just is no more room. In fact, the yard now holds some bags of cans as well.

A friend helped him put up a pavilion-style roof in his backyard so he can work there, crushing cans and listening to his radio, tuned to Christian music or the Penn State football game.

He plans to keep at it through the winter, then cash in the cans the beginning of April, two years after he first started this project. He is hoping someone will get a U-Haul or a similar large vehicle and take the cans to be recycled.

City Hall is so impressed with his can collection work that he has been asked to report how much he turns in for recycling. The city sends the state a recycling report on a regular basis and receives grant money based on the totals. Bauman said he will help the city and comply with the request.

Even after April, he plans to keep his project going.

He has been shooting for the ambitious goal of collecting at least 2,783,789 pop tabs — one more than a Guinness world record that was reported in the media four years ago. It is like a game, he said, one he hopes to eventually win.

Bauman is goal-driven. He once enthusiastically participated in local walk-athons and was nicknamed The Walking Man.

He also gives blood on a regular basis, and in February he will have given 14 gallons of blood, he said. He will have reached this milestone by giving blood 120 times over 20 years, and according to a Red Cross estimate, will have saved 360 lives.

The Walking Man — who also refers to himself lightheartedly as “The Can Man” — structures his life so he always has something worthwhile to do. This Friday, starting at 7 a.m., he will be at his church helping with the annual turkey dinner for Flemington senior citizens, and on Sunday, Dec. 11, he will lend a hand at the Lock Haven Area Jaycees’ annual turkey dinner, also for senior citizens.

Meanwhile, the cans keep coming, and so do the pop tabs, some donated by other people who like to collect them.

Reese’s Print Shop is accepting tabs for Bauman today and tomorrow until 5 p.m., Ron said. Anyone who would like to donate may drop off tabs there, but just until close of business tomorrow.

Then Bauman will be ready for his trip to Newberry on Monday and another milestone in his avocation of setting and attaining goals for charity.

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