Darth Vader picks up trash alongside adopted Virginia highway

By Ben Hooper  |  Sept. 19, 2016 at 10:11 AM
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BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A Virginia man who adopted a stretch of highway under the name Darth Vader donned the costume of the Star Wars character while cleaning up roadside trash.

Darth Vader, aka Henry Wakley, was spotted Thursday wearing a version of the Sith Lord's costume with an orange reflective vest at the side of Route 460 in Blacksburg.

Wakley adopted the stretch of highway last year and a sign at the side of the road states it was adopted by "Darth Vader."

Wakley, who spends most of his time in New Zealand on business, said he decided to don Darth Vader's robes and pick up some trash while in town for a couple of weeks.

"I like to get out here and dress up because it makes people smile driving by," Wakley told WSBS-TV. "The lack of cleanliness disrupts me."

Wakley said he hopes using the Dark Side of the Force for good will inspire others to keep their roads clean.

"We need to end this destructive behavior to restore the galaxy," Wakley said.

He said he had a humorous run-in with police this week when someone reported "Batman" walking along the side of the highway, but officers arrived to find Darth Vader doing his civic duty.

The Virginia Department of Transportation thanked Vader for his service to the community.

"VDOT Salem District would like to thank Darth Vader for helping us keep our roadways 'in the galaxy' clean. He took a break on Friday from his busy schedule and used the force to pick up trash along Route 460 in Blacksburg, a highway he adopted as part of the Adopt-a-Highway Program," the department said in a Facebook post.

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