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Noteworthy in Sweeping

Norwegian Town Honors Beloved Street Sweeper with a Statue

Kjetil Paulsen

For more than 20 years, Kjetil Paulsen has been cleaning the streets of Sortland. Now the citizens of Sortland would like to honor him and his relentless dedication for the city, by erecting a statue in honor of his retirement.

Kjetil Paulsen is called an everyday hero who personalizes the Common Man. "His presence and real contact with the people of Sortland symbolizes a grass-root level approach and, at the same time, an essence of that still permeable contact with the inhabitants of Sortland," says Ken Rune Hansen, the initiator and committee member of Let's honor Kjetil Paulsen.

At a press conference on Friday, November 13, 2015, the committee announced their plans of erecting a life-sized Paulsen statue to honor their beloved street sweeper, who has been cleaning the streets of Sortland for the past 20 years.

"No other individual has managed to keep Sortland clean the way Kjetil has managed to do," said Hansen. "Replacing him will be next to impossible [because] Kjetil is a one-of-a-kind person. He links people together. Everyone knows Kjetil."

The statue of Paulsen will be the first life-sized statue in the northern Norwegian town of Sortland, which has a population of 10,000 people. A statue was seen as a concrete and visible way to honor a person. And Kjetil, townspeople have agreed, is a man who deserves that honor. Says Hansen, "He is a common person who lets people know if they are, indeed, littering. So, in a way, he has been the 'Voice of the city' for us. He is always positive, spreading happiness and joy at the same time." A Facebook group entitled "La oss hedre Kjetil Paulsen" (Let's honor Kjetil Paulsen) was started last September and at time of this publication it had 1559 followers. Plans are being called for the committee to raise funds through this group, sharing costs between businesses and private individuals, as well as with the use of public funds.

An artist, Anne-Kiristi Thoralvsdatter Lind, has been proudly commissioned to create a bronze statue of Paulsen. The statue will be erected in 2016, in time with the Sortland Jazz Festival on September 24. The committee hopes that the expression "to do a Kjetil" becomes synonymous to cleaning up after yourself.

This is not the first honor bestowed on Kjetil Paulsen. In 2008, Paulsen was voted "Sortlander of the Year," beating among others the internationally renowned author, Lars Saabye Christensen. One of the members of the Facebook group says "Without Kjetil, Sortland would be a pigsty. He is doing a great job!"

abc nyheter Note: Many thanks to the aby nyheter publication for providing us with the information for this article.

On behalf of the WorldSweeper organization, we add our commendations to someone in our industry who clearly has been making a difference.

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