We have so much to be thankful for. It is really easy when we become adults to get a little cynical. It becomes a little too easy to see what is wrong and forget about all the things that are right that we take for granted every day.
Thanksgiving is a good day to remember that there is much in our lives to be thankful for. I am thankful for many, many things, but I just want to share how thankful I am for the more-than 3,000 volunteers who have worked with Keep Liberty Beautiful in the last year. You are incredible volunteers and wonderful people to laugh, work and, yes, pick up trash with when we need to do so!
Keep Liberty Beautiful is not just the name of a program; KLB is a group effort. I am a little compulsive. Stuff like litter just drives me crazy. I used to feel a sense of ownership — or, actually, a lonely sense of responsibility — when I would see a pile of litter someone had tossed on the side of the road because I guess they wanted their car to be clean. I would get that same sad feeling when I would see a stream of garbage blowing out of a truck traveling down the road.
The reality is, though, that keeping Liberty beautiful is everyone’s responsibility. We live, work and raise our families here. Surely, we want this community to be the cleanest, most attractive place it can possibly be.
Thankfully, there are many citizens who get that same troubled feeling that I do when we see our community marred by the actions of thoughtless folks who either live or travel through here. We want to say thank you to the volunteers who have helped with a variety of activities during this last fiscal year.
If you have not volunteered yet, please let those who do know you, too, are grateful for the time they give. You see, KLB really is all about volunteers — people in our community who are inspired or empowered to take responsibility for making our community our ideal place to live and to work and to have a wonderful life. A staff person, like me, can come and go; I am just a glorified cheerleader. Those who volunteer and support these programs are the heart of KLB. We thank you on this wonderful week when we should all remember to be thankful. You have made a difference.
What you volunteers do is not glamorous. It can be messy and dirty and we even can smell a little after hours of some of these activities. You do it faithfully, and so many of you come again and again to help in every way possible.
If you have not volunteered yet and you do not know what KLB volunteers do, let me share with you so you will understand why we should all be thankful for them. KLB’s three main missions are
• to prevent and obliterate litter to protect our physical environment and waterways as well as the wildlife who live with us;
• to encourage our citizens to reduce waste and recycle so that the amount of waste accumulating in landfills is reduced; and
• to promote improvement and continued beautification of a community that we all call home.
That is a lot for even 3,000 volunteers a year to do. That is why we need you. We need everyone involved to create major changes.
If you are not sure how the mission statements translate into reality, here is a quick list of the many things that KLB volunteers do each year:
• planting hundreds of trees for Arbor Day
• cleaning up more than 150 miles of roads and green spaces
• adopting special roads and green areas for cleanups
• recycling tons of items like paper, plastics, aluminum and steel cans, glass, newspaper, magazines and electronics
• collecting hundreds of shoes to provide shoes for those in need
• collecting thousands of phonebooks to recycle
• holding special clean ups to protect the quality of our waters for Rivers Alive
• cleaning up the beach at St. Catherines Island
• helping with area educational events
• helping to provide an Earth Day celebration
• recycling hundreds of Christmas trees for mulch
• developing educational materials and activities to make taking care of our environment and our resources fun and memorable
• planting community gardens, and shade gardens and native plants in gateway areas
• working on neighborhood beautification projects, and
• creating attractive, award-worthy businesses and yards.
There still is much that can be done to improve our home here. How about you? We are waiting for you. I am thankful for all of our volunteers — and for you, because I think you will be our newest one. It is up to all of us to join these 3,000 committed volunteers. Let’s grow the kind of community that we all want to have.
Be thankful for what we have here in Liberty County. Happy Thanksgiving!