Couple Collects A Mountain Of Cans

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What began as a way of save money to pay vet bills has now turned into quite a hobby for one Cannon County couple.

Thomas and Molly Cunningham, who live on Old Murfreesboro Rd., have a collection of what they estimate to be over 250,000 aluminum cans in their yard.

Molly Cunningham said she and her husband began collecting the cans after they acquired a Blue Heeler, who was ill.

"Our idea was to collect the cans, save them, and pay vet bills," Molly said. "We collected about $500 worth and then she got sick. The vet got that, and after I spent it she passed away. I would have given my life for her."

Then another dog, this one a Red Heeler, came into the picture.

"No one wanted her, so she ended up here," Molly said. "I told my husband we better start collecting more cans in case she gets sick."

Fortunately that hasn't happened, but the can collecting has continued.

The Cunninghams said their day starts out between two and three o'clock each morning when they get in their truck and start walking parks, roads and visiting beer joints looking for discarded cans.

"It's a lot of work and a lot of hours, but it's also good exercise and it gives us something to do," Molly said.

Molly said that at some point they will begin selling the cans again, bagging them and taking to Pelham's and exchange them for cash.
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March 27, 2011 at 7:26am
a sweet story, to be sure, but don't all those cans provide a place for mosquitoes to breed? Why not cash in the cans and put the money in the bank?
March 27, 2011 at 10:33am
now is a good time to sell they are bringing good money
March 27, 2011 at 10:56am
The home is about three miles out Old Murfreesboro Rd. from Woodbury. Well out into the county. Their yard is well back from the road, behind a gate, and one driving by would have a hard time noticing the cans. I missed it completely driving by twice. Yard and area is otherwise well-kept. They have been bagging them and plan on selling them when the price gets a little higher. The Cunninghams are putting in a lot of effort into collecting "Tennessee Trash" from our parks and roadways. Until Cannon County has a popular of 442 people per square like Rutherford, instead of 52, its going to continue to have a rural image, and the freedom to engage in "Junior Samples" quirks which harm no one.
March 27, 2011 at 11:29am
i think these people are doin what they have to do and i think people are just jealous cause they aint got what others have.. some people
March 27, 2011 at 11:31am
I think it's a great thing that they pick up cans from various places! There are plenty of beer cans tossed on the side of North Short Montain Road, mostly by horse riders and drivers. I wish the citizens of CC would realize that aluminum cans do not break down into thin air after you toss em into the your cans,recycle them and let's keep Cannon County beautiful!
March 27, 2011 at 3:27pm
Annanomoose needs a vacation...

I sense distain for the culture here in Cannon county? Being a Hillbilly is bad for the area? Complaining about a thing no one knew of until this story was published?

Why do you live in an area where you obviously are in opposites to?

You can look at the "can' half empty if you want to...

I prefer to dwell on the motivation behind the collection.

I regret Cannon county is not meeting your criteria for what is good and right in the world...

How do you think the can collectors feel over your derisiveness? Why so rude to people with good intentions?

Not ONE negative impact is presented by the collection.

You want to compare the dysfunction of those poor confused souls on HOARDERS to the planned investment of love these can collectors have established?

Did you also forget that these cans were collected and off the grounds where people have disposed of them?

I'll wait for that eminent tornado you predict to spread aluminum over the whole of the county before I acknowledge your ridiculous concerns...

I suspect you will throw a few cans where they don't belong before that occurs.

I thought this was a great human interest story of love and dedication.

You see trash.

I like their version better.
March 27, 2011 at 6:45pm
on big hill after a horse ride there a lot of cans there
March 28, 2011 at 3:50am much to say annonomoose....over one story too! Get over it!! It doesn't matter if you live in the rural areas, town, or in another county..there will always be things like this going on. Let people live their lives and get off that dumber than a rock hillbilly slang thing that you are trying so hard to master...and wipe your chin off for God's sake!! LOL!!
March 28, 2011 at 8:17am
If we get that so called tornado it'll just scatter the cans back where they came from.

Granted, I would not want to see a mountain of cans from my house, but the deal is, I can't and neither can just about anyone else.

As far as good ole Woodburr goes, it's far better, cleaner living than any metropolitan, professional, highly educated city INFESTED with pollution and crime.

These good folks are providing a service instead of milking the system for service. If more folks would get off their lazy "cans" and be as productive as this couple we'd all be better off.

Think of it this way, it's the litter bugs laziness that is generating this couples profit.

The can collector bashers would be better of using their energies flaming the people who dump all over the community.
March 28, 2011 at 10:55am
Annonomoose, nothing you have said makes any sense as you have several times contradicted yourself.

Your writing is implying that Cannon county is a hillbilly laden uneducated poor hard scrabbling town of wasted uneducated people who sped time generating the next meth lab . You canvass for others to be mindful to omit this stereotype for the benefit of the future of the county... You worry over the future of the local environment due to can-casting indiscriminately and the solution you suggest is for the local prisoners to collect them rather than discourage littering...?! Some prisoners are more trustworthy depending on the county they reside!?

My opinion is not valid because my mother bore me in another county? My opinion is less valid because I haven't lived here all my life? I prefer to interpret the legitimacy of my opinion based more on rational information rather than where I was born...

Your attempt at satire was an epic fail. You are a bore, sir and so far removed from the original source of your complaint as to be insulting.

No matter...

This was not about you - It was about two people finding clever ways to solve a problem and motivated to do a good thing.

You want to show your support? Then congratulate two people for being resourceful enough to solve their problem without asking others for help. If the loose Cans of CANnon county bother you, ask the county jail for some of those bags the prisoners use to collect trash and get off your duff and go pick up those offending cylinders yourself rather than looking for a Hatfield, McCoy and the next meth lab operated by qualified residents who were born here...

I mean really...

Think about how those people feel related to the story... Are they the bad guys here? I can't tell from your "writing"...

If you are representative of this county I encourage you to re-evaluate your position.
March 28, 2011 at 11:42am
Annonomoose, I doubt if my opinion matters to you since I am a northern transplant. I have only lived here for 23 yrs and raised my children here. When I first moved here I did hear all the jokes about the people from Cannon County. I don't hear them anymore. I hear how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place, or I am asked about our Arts Center. Maybe the reason you still hear the negative remarks is because you are associating with the wrong people or you are misrepresenting the county. Who is trying to turn us into New York City? Remarks like that do make us sound like uneducated rednecks.
Now to the original story, I had hoped to read they were collecting the cans for a charity. I was concerned about the sanitation issue with all those cans but they don't seem to be bothering anyone. I am not the one who will have to deal with the bees and mosquitoes. Better in their backyard than on my road.
March 28, 2011 at 12:40pm
DB i respect you and your opinion.i have many relatives in and your family are indicative of the kind of good decent Americans we need to move here and help enhance this community.oft times tho there are those sordid few who move to and try and change everything that the local populus holds dear to their hearts,and their traditions too. being SOUTHERN is not so much about geography as it is about the heart.many good people from all walks of life have chosen to call Woodbury their home. thats the american way.we are all Americans here(except for all the illegal aliens that should be deported).Woodbury has always welcomed those who wish to live and thrive here.the term "southern hospitality" does infact,indeed,exist in Woodbury and Cannon county,and in the hearts of good people everywhere,(some parts just use other names for it).HEY NOW THERES AN IDEA!!!!CHARITY! WE NEED AN ANIMAL SHELTER NOW PEOPLE!! maybe if EVERYONE saved their cans and donated them HERE to this pile,then if the people who own the pile AGREE,maybe this pile of cans could be converted into MONEY,dinero,mazoolah....and an ANIMAL SHELTER non-profit could be started.enough cans(and a few notable donations from the prominent citizens) and we wouldnt have to wait on outside interests (i.e. the county) for funding.just a thought from one warped APOLOGIES to all the GOOD people from up north who now call this area their home and enjoy the fruits of good clean Southern living.this does NOT include the carpetbagging "damn yankees" whom i imagine are not welcome ANYWHERE,much less the beloved SOUTH they seem to despise so much.thank you.
March 28, 2011 at 2:42pm
Could it be that folks are too quick to stereotype? There is a good chance of finding people who collect cans and sell them who live 50 to 100 miles from any big city in any area of the country — New York, Chicago, Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, Dallas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, etc.
March 28, 2011 at 4:57pm
with respect,collecting cans and selling them is an honest way of making a living.however a private citizen amassing a pile of them over 250000 in their back yard just seems a bit much to me.most ive encountered cash them in,(occasionally) rather than allow them to accumulate to wretched excess just to make another dollar(as clearly stated in the article).and i might add,most,including the convenience center,i believe, tend to keep their cans more securely contained in containers designed to keep them secure.IF YOU HAVE MORE CANS IN YOUR BACK YARD THAN THE CONVENIENCE CENTER HAS IN ITS CONTAINER FOR THE WHOLE COUNTY, some may find that excessive,disturbing, or JUST PLAIN WRONG...however ,opinions many counties, they might even receive a visit from the county codes enforcement officer,along with a cease and desist order,and a clean up order,and maybe even a substantial fine for their efforts. but here its just another perk of living in a county where there is limited or nonexistant codes enforcement,unlike the CITY where citizens are subject to codes enforcement,for the good of the citizens and for the good of the Town of Woodbury.some see(in the photos) a pile of cans,others see(in the photos)a pile of something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. a good and noble IDEA,good and noble PEOPLE doing the work,but perhaps the execution of this noble gesture has gone somewhat AWRY. just a thought.........thank you!p.s. i hope they wear ARMORED TYPE GLOVES when (as stated in the article) they are going thru the RUFUSE at some of these places they mention,due to the possibility of broken glass or possibly used needles in the trash.can you say hepatitis? can you say HIV?
March 28, 2011 at 7:27pm
I think everybody is missing the point! A REAL tragedy must be averted here. Pelham's pays TERRIBLE prices for cans. These poor people could loose hundreds. They typically pay 15 to 30 cents less per pound than Clark Iron in M'boro.

And, ummm...annonomoosiepooboy, is a really pathetic place to be a troll; here's a quick guide
March 29, 2011 at 12:15pm
it is as foxohm says "a real tragedy" that folks cannot express their OPINIONS without being maligned on these type sites.People give their opinions and then are attacked and maligned for those opinions.SOME people do not even OFFER an opinion,just spew profuse garbage at those who offer one can plainly see, this jeffshulers first word in his opinion was "annonomoose" and then the attacks began.and foxohm just couldnt help but "call me out" in the last ramblings of his or her "OPINION".as i recall in my original OPINION, i stuck to giving my rather negative opinion on hoarding cans,garbage picking in general,and the safety and hygeine issues with 250000 cans and warm spring weather.i gave my OPINION,thats all. then the insults began.this JEFFS article was entirely his OPINION of ANNONOMOOSE, not his opinion in regards to the article in question. and this "foxohm" also at the end of his "OPINION"chose again to attack me.I should have been a GENTLEMAN and not dignified these tiny little people and their EXCREMENTAL attacks.that would have been the decent and Christian thing to do.and i WILL TRY MY BEST TO DO SO IN THE FUTURE!!!! however i learned at an early age,if you stick your hand in the fire you will most likely be burned.Perhaps people who make these personal attacks should not be surprised when they are put in their rightful place by the writer they chose to attack.dont talk about me unless YOU are prepared to deal with what i might say about YOU.i choose not to make personal attacks(except for "daily reader" who seems to richly deserve them).however if i am attacked PERSONALLY, i have generally responded with "shock and awe" to such attacks. However i was reminded by a friend on here a few weeks ago,that when i respond to jeffshuler and foxohm and put them in their respective places ,i am,indeed sinking to their level.a level so low they would have to look UP to see a snakes belly. so i will try to respond to articles with relevant opinions positive or negative,but i will try hard to no longer LOWER myself by attacking ANYONE,even if they lower themselves and attack me personally.JUST A PERSONAL CHOICE,thank you.ANNONOMOOSE
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