Volunteers were recognized for their service to maintain a clean community Thursday at Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful’s volunteer celebration luncheon. (Staff photo: Laura Williams)
ALBANY — Everything can be beautiful in its own way.
The mission of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful is to ensure that the area’s surroundings always look as beautiful as possible, a feat that would not be possible without a host of volunteers. The efforts of these volunteers were acknowledged Thursday at “Cheers to Our Volunteers,” KADB’s annual volunteer celebration luncheon.
Celebrating its 25th year, the luncheon serves as a way to say “thank you” to volunteers and also to award individuals and organizations for outstanding service to the community. KADB saluted more than 36,000 Dougherty County citizens who collectively donated 84,722 hours of volunteer service to the community in 2013.
About 400 volunteers filled the meeting room at the Albany Civic Center, where they enjoyed a lunch sponsored by the Darsey Family Foundation and HeritageBank of the South.
Entertainment was provided by Lincoln Elementary Magnet School students, who sang environmental songs and were directed by Anita Moody.
Officials overseeing the event included KADB Executive Director Judy Bowles, KADB Commission Chairman Jeanette Henderson and Commissioners Virginia Johnson and Willie Wingfield, Mauldin & Jenkins CPA Fran Brown, Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Dougherty County Commissioner Clinton Johnson. Ann Brim-Streat presided as the emcee.
“We’re here today to recognize environmental stewards of our community,” Henderson said during her opening remarks.
Wingfield added, “We want to thank you for your time and effort to make Albany and Dougherty County a clean and more beautiful place to work and live.”
Some of those efforts include:
— 2,247 volunteers participating in Stash-The-Trash;
— 32 tons of debris removed from roadways;
— 49,996 pounds of electronics recycled;
— 32 graffiti sites painted over;
— 167 pounds of unwanted/outdated drugs collected during Operation Pill Drop;
— 5,400 pounds of debris removed during Rivers Alive cleanup.
Clean Business Award — F&W Forestry Services for its efforts in maintaining an impeccable visual appearance;
Organization Award — Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity for community cleanup assistance;
Litter Abatement Award — Albany City Commissioner Roger Marietta for his weekly efforts to improve neighborhood litter;
Government Award — Albany Civic Center staff for assistance to KADB events;
Recycling Award — Darsey Family Foundation for monetary donations and contributions to commercial recycling containers at Chehaw;
Call to Service Award — Ken Barnhill, owner of Safety Max, for the company’s removal of limb and tree debris the railroad tracks on its adoption of blocks of Roosevelt Avenue;
Community Improvement Award — Beach United Methodist Church Youth Mission Team in Jacksonville, Fla., for its days of community cleanup service this past summer in Albany;
Public Works Employees of the Year — City of Albany, Kenneth Jenkins; Dougherty County, Robert (Jack) Loud;
Solid Waste Division Employees of the Year — City of Albany, Bernadette Wilson; Dougherty County, Jacqueline Wingfield.
Fran Brown, Virginia Johnson and Willie Wingfield were recognized for 25 years of service with KADB, and even the emcee got a surprise when Brim-Streat was recognized as Volunteer of the Year.
“They didn’t have that on my program,” Brim Streat quipped as she accepted her award. “Thank you. This is a wonderful honor.”
The value of these volunteers’ service was estimated at $1.875 million, but KADB officials consider it to be priceless.
Virginia Johnson noted, “We stand up as volunteers to protect nature’s gift to our nation; it’s our responsibility.”
And, as one Lincoln student aptly put it, “What a beautiful world this is.”