One of the hardest things I have to do as director for Keep Liberty Beautiful is to select groups and individual volunteers for additional recognition opportunities.
I am so thankful for the numerous individuals and groups that go far beyond our expectations in their efforts to make a difference for our community. We are fortunate to have so many dedicated citizens who care about our environment.
Recently, we nominated a local organization and a county employee for state recognitions through the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation. I am happy to report that both the group, Hinesville Rotary Club, and the individual, Berton "Junior" Kincaid, were selected for awards. It was our pleasure last week to attend the award ceremony in Atlanta with our local winners.
The 39th annual Keep Georgia Beautiful Awards Luncheon was Nov. 30 at the Marriott Century Center. The program honors individuals and organizations working to improve Georgia’s environment.
"Today’s program celebrates and recognizes 39 years of collaboration by individuals, schools, corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies to keep Georgia’s environment beautiful," said Michael Power, president of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.
The ceremony recognizes efforts in litter prevention, waste reduction and community improvement.
The program also honors Georgia’s Keep America Beautiful affiliates for their environmental impact. Since its inception in 1978, Georgia’s affiliate network has grown to be the nation’s largest, with 77 affiliates, serving 76 percent of the state’s population.
The awards are made possible by the support of state sponsors: Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Beverage Association, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, American Chemistry Council, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Cox Communications, Dart Container Corp., Georgia Electric Membership Corp., Pratt Industries, Caraustar and Union Bank.
The Hinesville Rotary has supported our community in so many ways for many years. KLB nominated the club for an outstanding three-year project that they completed this year. In 2014 the club determined to implement a project that would help protect waterways from stormwater pollution.
As the director for the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, Jeff Ricketson was aware of the detrimental effects from litter and debris passing through storm drains into waterways. As head of the committee for this Rotary project, he led a project to mark over 700 storm drains. The club received the first for litter prevention for a community organization.
"The stormdrain marker project was an important project for our club," club President Carla Schreihofer said. "All citizens should take an active part in protecting our waterways and our environment."
The Keep Liberty Beautiful Advisory Board also nominated Kincaid for Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation public works employee of the year. He has been employed as a part-time recycling collection assistant for the county Solid Waste Authority since 2014. His supervisor, Brenda Hearn, was also recognized in 2011 as state public works employee of the year.
Junior actually volunteered for three years with the recycling department until a part-time position became available. He is not only a faithful county employee with a deep commitment to recycling, he is also a regular volunteer for keep liberty Beautiful Programs.
Public Works Director Clenton Wells said, "We are delighted for Junior to receive this recognition and we sincerely appreciate his dedication to his job."
Keep Liberty Beautiful, our local Keep America Beautiful affiliate, also received a distinguished service award for its overall programming.
KLB has been an affiliate for the state foundation and the national environmental organization, Keep America Beautiful, since 1983.
Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.