ALBANY -- One the area's most visible organizations does volumes for the community. On Thursday, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful took the time to recognize the partners that assist it in making Southwest Georgia a better place.
The organization hosted its 22nd annual "Cheers to our Volunteers" luncheon at the Albany Civic Center. The awards were given to seven businesses in six categories. They included Englewood Health Systems in the business category and MillerCoors in the environmental category.
"Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful has done so much for the Albany-Dougherty area," Englewood Health Systems Director of Human Resources Sheri Barlow said. "We are a more beautiful city because of all their hard work. We thank them for this beautiful award and recognizing Englewood's effort to keep Albany-Dougherty beautiful."
Other winners included Albany Technical College's Charles B. Gillespie, M.D. Center for Emergency Responders in the business category, the employees of Georgia Power Co. in the community enhancement category, AmeriCorps in the organization category, Deerfield-Windsor Lower Campus in the recycling category, and The Albany Herald in the communications category.
The companies were recognized for efforts such as promotion of environmental awareness, efficient energy practices and community service, KADB officials said.
"Some say cleanliness is next to godliness; some parents may say cleanliness is next to impossible," said Ann Brim-Streat, the event's emcee. "These businesses have found a way to maintain."
Virginia Johnson received the Volunteer of the Year award. For the city of Albany, Johnny Holsey was recognized as the Public Works Employee of the Year and Larry Brown was acknowledged as the Solid Waste Division Employee of the Year.
For Dougherty County, Reginald Robinson was named the Public Works Employee of the Year and Walter James Bullock was acknowledged as the Solid Waste Department Employee of the Year.
"We do what we do because of passion," said KADB Executive Director Julia Bowles. "We need to stop and thank volunteers. They, in reality, are Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful."
Albany Mayor Willie Adams, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard and KADB Commissioner Jeremiah Paschal presented the awards.
Bowles, along with KADB Project Manager LaVerne Levins, were given plaques by the organization's commission in acknowledgment of their efforts to move the cause forward.
"It's always great when your commissioners recognize you are making a difference," Bowles said. "I love the people I work with. It's not about being recognized, but it's appreciated."
In 2009, 25,275 volunteers contributed 113,561 hours toward environmental improvements in the community, KADB officials say.
"Today we came in celebration of you who have given of your efforts and resources to protect and environmentally improve our community," said KADB Commission Chairman Jeanette Henderson at the luncheon's closing. "Through KADB's public, private, volunteer driven efforts with businesses, industries, churches, schools and individuals, we have all joined hands as environmental partners. For over two decades, you and others like you have continued to keep our partnership strong."
The event also included a performance by a group of students at Magnolia Elementary School.