By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
Keep Etowah Beautiful, Inc. held its Annual Awards Breakfast on Tuesday, May 23 at the Gadsden Country Club.
Ty Jackson presented the Extra Mile Awards. The Extra Mile Awards are given to volunteers that help with the judging of Keep Etowah Beautiful’s Clean Campus, Message in the Bottle or Litter Index programs, or help the organization whenever it is needed. Award winners include Don Campbell, Wendell Clark, Mike Clelland, Jamie Duncan, Chad Hare, Mike Hilton, Deb Howard, Gene Phifer, Kim Reed, Steve Shields, Jeramy Ward and Meleah Williams.
Jackson also presented the Community Awards, which are given to organizations, government departments and small businesses for support and service to Keep Etowah Beautiful programs. Award winners were the Alabama Department of Transportation, Alabama Power Service Organization, AT&T Pioneers, Buck’s Marina, the City of Gadsden Engineering Department, the City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation, the Etowah County Commissioners, Gadsden Beautification, Gadsden-Etowah Emergency management Agency, Gadsden Water Works, Neely Henry Lake Association and Jones, Blair, Waldrup and Tucker.
Perry Gwin presented the Municipality Awards, which are given to cities that work with Keep Etowah Beautiful. The organization was proud to honor all 11 municipalities in Etowah County, which include the cities of Altoona, Attalla, Gadsden, Glencoe, Hokes Bluff, Rainbow City, Reece City, Ridgeville, Sardis, Southside and Walnut Grove.
Dorothy Robinson presented Corporate Awards, given to companies who encourage employees to take part in Keep Etowah Beautiful programs, to Alabama Power Company’s District Office, Alabama Power Company’s Gadsden Steam Plant and Buffalo Rock Company. Robinson also presented a County Beautification Award to the City of Gadsden’s Public Works Department for assisting in collection of trash and debris both on land and in the water.
Kathy Boggs thanked school administrators and teachers for their work with the Message in the Bottle, Water Festival, Great American Cleanup and Renew our Rivers programs. Boggs went on to recognize the schools that obtained Clean Campus Certification. In Attalla City Schools, Attalla Elementary, Etowah Middle and Etowah High schools were certified. In Etowah County Schools, Carlisle Elementary, Duck Springs Elementary, Gaston Elementary, Glencoe Elementary, Highland Elementary, Hokes Bluff Elementary, Ivalee Elementary, John Jones Elementary, Southside Elementary, West End Elementary, Whitesboro Elementary, Rainbow Middle, Sardis Middle, Gaston High, Hokes Bluff High, Southside High and West End High schools were certified. In Gadsden City Schools, Oscar Adams Elementary, Donehoo Elementary, Eura Brown Elementary, George W. Floyd Elementary, R.A. Mitchell Elementary, W. E. Striplin Elementary, Ray Thompson Elementary, Walnut Park Elementary, Emma Sansom Middle, Gadsden Middle, Litchfield Middle and Gadsden City High schools were certified. Private school Westbrook Christian High was certified.
Boggs announced the student poster contest, Message in the Bottle, winners. Elementary School Division winner was Caleb Holley of Highland Elementary. His teacher, Kim Hamby, won a $500 grant. Middle and High School Division winner was Tommy Diaz Lucas of Litchfield Middle. His teacher, Tracey Abney, received a $500 grant. Lucas’s artwork will be featured on Keep Etowah Beautiful’s billboards.
Boggs also awarded the Appreciation Award to Alabama Power Company for supporting the organization’s programs and providing teacher grants for teachers of the Message in the Bottle winners. The organization asks teachers to use the money to teach students about the environment.
Tom McKenzie presented Service Awards. The Volunteer Service Award winner was Martin Windham, for going above and beyond and always being among the first to volunteer when help is needed. The Board Member Service Award winner was Deborah Gaither for selflessly dedicating her time to make the organizations programs and events as impactful as possible. The Enforcement Service Award winner was Lawrence Scott, who has worked for the Gadsden Police Department for 29 years. After retirement, Scott began working as a Environmental enforcement officer tracking down violators of littering ordinances. He often works with violators in letting them clean up the dump site, but does proceed with a court date if necessary.
Peter Gregerson, Sr., presented the Influence Award to Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin for continuing the partnership with Keep Etowah Beautiful that allows supervised inmates to give back to the community by picking up litter and debris. Entrekin has dedicated personal time, manpower and equipment to further the cause of Keep Etowah Beautiful.
Chief Scott Hassell presented Gadsden State Community College with a special award for supporting Keep Etowah Beautiful Eductional programs. GSCC President Martha Lavender accepted the award. Hassell presented the Leadership Award to Mike Lankford for promoting environmental education by training high school students to respectfully and enthusiastically teach lessons at the Water Festival.
Charlotte Phifer presented the President’s Award to Officer Heath Yates for going above and beyond his job requirements to assist Keep Etowah Beautiful’s programs and projects, even picking up trash himself.