Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Recognizes Outstanding 2020 Volunteers Of The Year

On January 26,
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced Gary Smith from Allegheny CleanWays and Charles Dean Hench from Keep Perry County Beautiful are the 2020 Outstanding Volunteers of the Year.

Each year, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides an opportunity for their local affiliates to recognize the outstanding efforts of volunteers whose dedication, commitment and exceptional contributions helped keep local programs going during the unprecedented year of the COVID pandemic.

Gary Smith

Gary Smith working with Allegheny CleanWays: Smith has been involved with Allegheny CleanWays since 2007, working primarily with The Tireless Project, a riverfront cleanup program that launched a two-week Monongahela River cleanup in 2020. 

With Smith’s help the group successfully cleaned up more than 11,500 pounds of trash and 175 tires. 

Smith has also participated in riverfront cleanups, canoe and kayak cleanups, assisted with maintenance of the organization’s boat fleet, served on a board committee and assisted with dismantling and removing an abandoned boat from the riverbank. 

When asked why he volunteers with Allegheny Cleanways, Gary said, "I love working with Allegheny CleanWays because of their 'if not now, then when; if not us, then who' approach to the work that they do!"

“Gary’s ability to lead and learn while working with us is invaluable. His presence at cleanups inspires others to step up and be more involved with the work that we do,” said Hannah Hohman, Water-based Cleanup and Education Program Coordinator.

Charles Dean Hench

Charles Dean Hench working with Keep Perry County Beautiful. Hench joined the Juniata River Cleanup Crew in 2017 and has participated in numerous affiliate activities since, including the CHEMSweep collection for the safe disposal of unwanted or unusable pesticides that was held for Perry County agricultural businesses and pesticide applicators in December 2020. 

In addition to assisting the affiliate, Hench’s other conservation efforts include being an active beekeeper and providing protection for the little brown bat by working with the local scout group to install bat boxes on his property. 

Charles says of his experience, “I enjoy the fellowship with other volunteers having a similar goal to improve our environment." 

“Charles is always eager to share his wisdom and knowledge about the environment and wildlife with fellow volunteers. 2020 brought a wide variety of challenges that affected our community. But I can honestly say that working side by side with Charles and our dedicated group of volunteers made our continued efforts to improve our corner of the world that much easier,” said Kristie Smith, Keep Perry County Beautiful Coordinator.   

“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is indebted to our local affiliates and volunteers across the state. It’s inspiring and humbling to learn what people are doing locally to improve their neighborhoods and change behavior. Without them, our programs would not be possible. To each and every KPB volunteer, thank you! Your help is essential to our work.,” said Shannon Reiter, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful President. 

Award winners and their programs can be found at KPB’s 2020 Outstanding Volunteers of the Year webpage.

Volunteer Opportunities

Visit the KPB Calendar of Events webpage for volunteer opportunities across the state.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.

Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s Electronics Waste website.

The 2021 Pick Up Pennsylvania Initiative will be held from March 1 through May 31.  Questions should be directed to Michelle Dunn at 1-877-772-3673 Ext. 113 or send email to: mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.

Keep PA Beautiful helps mobilize over 100,000 volunteers a year to pick up litter, clean up illegal dumping and beautify Pennsylvania.

(Photos: Gary Smith, Charles Dean Hench.)

Related Articles:

-- Keep PA Beautiful: Registration Now Open For Pick Up PA Community Cleanup Initiative

-- Keep PA Beautiful Adoption Program Helps Reduce Local Litter Cleanup Costs

-- KPB Surveillance Cameras Catch Illegal Dumping In Michaux State Forest; Reports Of Illegal Dumping Up 212% In 2020

[Posted: January 26, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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