Make the McKenzie Connection!

Ruralite fetes Bottle Boys

Lane Electric picked them as "Member of the Year"

In May, a plaque was presented at the Lane Electric Coop's annual meeting to the "Blue River Bottle Boys." They were being recognized as the coop's Member of the Year.

"The dedication of the members living in the McKenzie River Valley is so inspiring," Lane Electric General Manager Debi Wilson said. "What the Bottle Boys have accomplished, one dime at a time shows you that anything is possible."

This month, the Ruralite, a monthly magazine, featured the Bottle Boys with a front-page cover story. Plenty of people will see it as the magazine is distributed to the members of 47 consumer-owned electric utilities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California.

The article notes that five senior citizens who dubbed themselves the Blue River Bottle Boys have collected and turned in recyclable bottles and cans totaling about $50,000 to make a difference in their community.

Montv Wilson, Pete Petty, Matt Freedman, Steve Nundebo, and Walt Wilson are the Bottle Boys, who adopted "A Dime at a Time" as their motto in October 2020.

The money they raised has gone to a wide range of organizations, including the O'Brien Memorial Library, McKenzie River Clinic, Vida McKenzie Community Center, Upper McKenzie Rural Fire District, and the Upper McKenzie Community Center, as well as the McKenzie School District's SMART Reading Program, the Boy Scouts, the McKenzie Community Track and Field, and the Walterville Grange.

The McKenzie Community Partnership agreed to be the sponsoring organization, collecting the money raised by the Bottle Boys' effort and writing checks to recipients.

"It makes you feel good giving money away to the community," Pete says. "It's the kind of thing everybody can help with. People who don't want to go through the hassle of returning bottles can donate them to us."

Bottle donations can be left at the Leaburg Store or Pack N Ship in Thurston. A contact for the Bottle Boys, Pete Petty, can be reached at


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