ALBANY, Ga. -- Without volunteers, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful would not be able to do its job.
This was the motivation for hosting the organization's 23rd annual "Cheers to Our Volunteers" luncheon Thursday at the Albany Civic Center.
"In 1987, we began our environmental journey with 4,600 volunteers," KADB board chair Jeanette Henderson said to volunteers at the event during opening remarks. "Today, over two decades later, your ranks have grown to 34,555. Collectively, you gave 243,685 hours of volunteer service last year proving, once again, that you are the environmental stewards of the community.
"Albany and Dougherty County are truly blessed by each and every one of you because you care enough to make a personal commitment to environmentally improve our community."
The 34,555 volunteers included the 2,716 people who participated in "Stash the Trash" and removed 47 tons of debris from 131 miles of highway, the 29 "Adopt-a-Spot" partners who opted to beautify an area of public property and the 76 people who planted 42 trees for Arbor Day, among others.
The total hours of service were valued at $4.9 million.
Environmental awards were given out to area businesses in various categories at the event. Mauldin & Jenkins received the Clean Business Award; Willson Hospice House received the Natural Resource Management Award; the Marine Corps League received the Community Enhancement Award; the Southgate Neighborhood Association received the Beautification Award; Darton College received the Recycling Award, and City Print Shop received the Communication Award.
For individual awards, Linda Means from the Water Festival's planning committee received the Environmental Education Award, and Shirley Lawless, secretary of the Albany Tree Board, received the Volunteer of the Year Award.
"They (the volunteers) give so much time and effort to make our community a better place to live," said KADB Executive Director Judy Bowles. "We are making tremendous strides to make the community a beautiful place.
"They really are Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful. It's amazing what our volunteers do."
Representing the city of Albany, Ralph Douse was recognized as the Public Works Employee of the Year, and Alfred Hunter received the award for Solid Waste Division Employee of the Year. For Dougherty County, Jimmie Conley was acknowledged as Public Works Employee of the Year, and Annie Hill received the Solid Waste Department Employee of the Year Award.
Inspector Anthony Jenkins was recognized as the Code Enforcement Employee of the Year.