Local man volunteers time and resources to clean up hateful graffiti

Published: Sep. 25, 2019 at 9:59 PM EDT
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A local man is volunteering his time and resources to clean up graffiti around the Toledo area. Power washing away hateful words is changing not just his life, but igniting possible action to clean up a long-time problem spot.

Dennis Bonifas believes in the power of second chances.

"About four or five months ago I actually took an attempt on my life. I suffer from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia," said Bonifas.

He owns B & D Powerwash and Painting Services in Swanton and gets his supplies from All Spray.

"I've grown a lot since then and now it's time for me to help give back, and this is just one of the ways that I can do it because it's what I do for a living," said Bonifas.

Last week, he saw on a community Facebook page that Swastikas were spray painted near County Road J in Fulton County.

So, he packed up his trailer with tools and did something about it.

"Very rewarding to be able to do something and then put a smile on my face and it actually helps my mood a lot," said Bonifas.

After hours, doing his full-time job, no charge. Since then, he's cleaned up a few other spots around town. Namely - the infamous Gibbs Road Bridge near the sate line.

"I focused that day just on what I thought needed attention. However, Gibbs Street is probably a thousand different pieces of graffiti out there," said Bonifas.

Decades worth of graffiti cover the bridge.

"It's a shame," said Captain Matt Luettke from the Lucas County Sheriff's Office.

Captain Luettke says it's known for drug abuse, dead animals and even hauntings.

"It's always nice when a citizen tries to pick up the slack, you know, do something...It's a safety issue for me. I'm always going to default to somebody standing out here doing it by themselves with their equipment, so I wouldn't recommend it," said Captain Luettke.

He says a lack of resources make it impossible to constantly patrol that rural area and in order to clean it all up - an organized plan with Richfield Township which maintains the bridge would need to happen.

For now, Dennis hopes to melt away hate in Toledo, one wash at a time.

"No place for hate in 2019," he said.

A Richfield Township trustee told 13abc it's been years since the Gibbs Road Bridge has been power washed. We connected Dennis with the township and now he is on the agenda for next week's meeting to organize a plan to clean it up for good.

Dennis hopes you'll connect with him on his business

if you know of any other hateful graffiti around Toledo that needs cleaned up. He says he's happy to do it.