MCTS employees are helping a Portage, Wisconsin girl in her quest to collect pop tabs from drink cans, to break the Guinness Book of World Records for charity on behalf of her late brother.

The Ronald McDonald House provides homes near hospitals for families with sick children. Five-year-old Mercedes Alves was staying at one while her younger brother Dominick was going through his third surgery. The family was also there when they learned their other son Gunner Sweeney had been kіIIed in a car accident.

From recycling the aluminum tabs, the Ronald McDonald House receives nearly $10,000 each year. Mercedes is trying to collect 6,280,014 tabs as a way to give back to the charity organization. The total of her goal represents Gunner’s birthday (6/28/00) and his age of 14 when he dіеd. Mercedes is also trying to collect $1,026.14 in monetary donations, in memorial of the day of Gunner’s accident (10/26/14).

“Even though she’s such a young child, she truly understands the meaning of what this is for, why she’s doing this for her brother. She understands he’s not coming back. But the love she’s received from everyone who has helped is absolutely astounding,” said the father Joseph Alves. The current record has stood for 12 years, and “nobody has been able to touch it until now. Mercedes could have her story in Guinness forever, and we’re hoping to get enough tabs to make it almost impossible for the record to change.”

In Milwaukee County, bus drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, and employees across the transit company collected more than 22 pounds of the little aluminum cans tops this year. The collection was delivered to Mercedes recently to help her set the new world record.

“Once again MCTS employees are showing excellence in everything they do,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “From this effort by MCTS to all the donations County employees give to the holiday drive for veterans, people across our community should be proud to know Milwaukee County employees are going above and beyond every day.”

MCTS Payroll Clerk Terri Guzman has been organizing the pop tab collection for four years. In past years she donated the tabs directly to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, but this year she heard about Mercedes and gave the tabs to her. Mercedes plans to eventually give all her tabs to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“It was so great to meet with Mercedes and see the smile on her face when, we showed her the MCTS donation. Our total of about 40,000 tabs is a modest amount compared to Mercedes goal of six million, but MCTS employees can be proud of the small part we played,” said Terri.

The Guinness Book of World Records accepted the application from Mercedes, who declared her intention to top the previous single-year record for pop tab collecting. The current record is listed as 2,782,000, and Mercedes has until February 1, 2018 to beat it.

Known from its inception in 1955 as The Guinness Book of World Records, it is a reference book published annually, listing world records both of human achievements and the extremes of the natural world. The organization has become the de facto international authority on the cataloging and verification of world records.

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MCTS and the Alves Family