Keep Etowah Beautiful honors Alabama Power employees during awards ceremony

Keep Etowah Beautiful honors Alabama Power employees during awards ceremony
A Renew Our Rivers volunteer crew with a load of debris. Etowah County was the site of the first cleanup in Alabama Power's nearly 20-year-old program. (Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Power employees and the Renew Our Rivers campaign were among those recently honored by Keep Etowah Beautiful.

Keep Etowah Beautiful is a nonprofit organization that strives to protect and enhance the environment in Etowah County through beautification and litter prevention. The organization also holds an annual awards ceremony recognizing meaningful volunteer work in the community.

Among those honored this year were Gerson Pickett, compliance specialist at Gadsden Steam Plant, who was awarded the Volunteer Service Award; Casandra Lewis, administration assistant in the company’s Shoreline Management Operations, and Martin Windham, team leader at Neely Henry Dam, who earned an Extra Mile Award. Windham’s wife, Nancy, also earned the President’s Award.

“While it is always an honor for our organization to be recognized for our environmental efforts around Renew Our Rivers, the fact that individual employees have been recognized is really something to take pride in,” said Tony Smoke, Alabama Power’s Eastern Division vice president. “Our employees are the soul of our company. The stewardship role they play in our communities is pivotal to our communities as well as our company’s success.”

The company won a beautification award for its 20-year partnership on the Renew Our Rivers campaign, as well as work done by the Alabama Power Service Organization, Gadsden Steam Plant and the company’s local office.

“We need to keep our environment clean,” Windham said, which is at the heart of Renew Our Rivers and the volunteer cleanups held at rivers, lakes and other locations across the state throughout the year. “We’re out there getting tires, fishing wires, boats, plastic and all sorts of trash out of the water. It’s an honor receiving an award, but it’s also a reflection of what dozens of others have done, too, not just me.”

Since its creation in 2000, volunteers at Renew Our Rivers cleanups have removed more than 15 million pounds of trash and debris from waterways and communities. The first Renew Our Rivers cleanup was in Etowah County, and Keep Etowah Beautiful has been a longtime partner.

“Since Keep Etowah Beautiful is a nonprofit organization and depends on the support of our volunteers, it is vital that we express how important they are to us,” said executive director Lisa Dover. “It is our honor to take one day of the year to thank the people that not only support but literally put in man-hours in making our community a cleaner and more beautiful place to live. If it was not for the support of our partners and volunteers, Keep Etowah Beautiful would not be successful.”

Keep Etowah Beautiful encourages people in the community to get involved and educate others about the importance of environmental stewardship. Learn more about the organization at http://etowahcounty.org/keep-etowah-beautiful/.

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