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Starting year right with the Chipper

Keep Liberty Beautiful

POSTED: January 29, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Are you just a little overwhelmed already in 2008? I am. I feel like I am already way behind — at home and at work!
I am still struggling to find time to finish packing up Christmas decorations and I am beginning to wonder if people would notice if I left them out until next Christmas! At work, my calendar is filling up way too fast. I am already tired.
Oh well, I guess the new year is officially here. But, there are some bright spots in my hectic life. On Jan. 5, we had the annual Bring One for the Chipper Christmas tree recycling.
It is always a good feeling to be a part of something that is beneficial for our community and for our environment, but I have to say that the best part about for me is the volunteers who help to make Bring One for the Chipper happen.
Like any community project, much has to happen months before the day of the event. So, thank goodness for the volunteers and sponsors who help. Georgia Power helps every year with the manpower and tree grinder to chip those Christmas trees up. It would be hard to have a Bring One for the Chipper event without the commitment of Robert Stokes and Willie Cato with GPC to set things up for us. Steve Knight and, Kenny, one of his crew members, man the chipper machine.
Let me tell you, it is awesome to watch them in action. Steve has been coming over for 12 years to help. So he can really feed that machine! All of you guys work so hard, but are still so much fun to work with.
This year we had our event in partnership with the Keep Fort Stewart/Hunter Beautiful program and the Fort Stewart Environmental Division, particularly with Ron King and Jim Blankenship. We love developing projects with you.
It is good for Liberty County and for Fort Stewart. We look forward to many more joint projects. We also love joint projects with Jeff Stone and the Georgia Forestry Commission, which provides the seedlings we give out and volunteer manpower every year.
This year we wanted to provide an opportunity for recycling electronics since people get so many new electronics as Christmas presents. Thanks to Steve Bellmoff and Goodwill Industries for partnering with us on this collection effort. I know I am still getting calls about items that people have to recycle. If you missed the event, either take your items directly to the local Goodwill Store or call my office at 368-4888.
Our program advisory council members and volunteers had worked for months to get the word out about this event by creating and distributing flyers, posters, banners and ads, as well as setting up a “Chipper” mobile in the Christmas parade and information on WTOC. It takes a lot of hands-on effort to get the word out.
Thanks to all of the KLCB Council as well as volunteers; Ashley Harris, Jordan Struble and Brenda Hearn; for your help with the prep work. Thanks also to Dave Sapp and Johnny Schaadt and the guys with the Liberty County Solid Waste Department. These guys with the county department as well as our friends at OMI in Hinesville also help round up all the trees around our community for chipping. Thanks for all of your hard work!
The Coastal Courier and WTOC help every year in promoting this event. Local Christmas tree retailers also help promote this event with every tree they sell. We want to extend a special thanks to Brewer’s Christmas Tree Farm, Lowe’s, Poppell Farms, and Coastal Georgia Garden Center for helping your customers remember to recycle their trees.
At the event, it just would not be the same without Ella Golden and her grandchildren who serve as Chipper ambassadors collecting trees and giving out seedlings and recycling information. Willie Cato’s son, Connor, helps out as well. These kids add a lot of energy and enjoyment to the day. Thank you Jonathan, Tiffany, Ashley, John-Lewis and Connor. You really made my day!  
Dave Sapp grilled up some great food for us while our younger volunteers and Ella, David Duke, Jeff Bowen and Pascal Brewer worked up an appetite unloading trees and giving out seedlings.
Thanks also to all the folks who brought in trees for the last several weeks. At this point, we have collected a little over 500 with trees still coming. We chipped up about 447 trees on Saturday. We are trying to get the trees that are still coming in to local ponds to be used for fish habitat. So if you have a pond or know someone who does who could use some of them, please contact me at 368-4888. We have already provided more than 50 for this, but I am sure that there are still plenty of people out there who could use the rest.  
I had a lot of fun, but don’t tell my bosses. They actually pay me to do this job!
For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact me at 368-4888 or klcb@libertycountyga.com.
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