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County joins forces for Earth Day clean up

Updated: May 1

By Deanna Ryan

Emanuel County looks cleaner this week thanks to the hard work of volunteers from across the county during Keep Emanuel Beautiful’s (KEB) Operation Clean Sweep last Saturday. Some citizens chose to help clean identified messy streets, while others participated by cleaning their own stretches, or areas they cared about the most.

In Swainsboro approximately 75 citizens gathered at the Boneyard to collect breakfast, bags, vests and a t-shirt and receive instructions. Those open to cleaning some of the identified messy city streets also received maps. Before heading out, the group gathered for a photo followed by a prayer from Men Reaching Men director John Troupe who gave thanks for the gathering of so many and prayed that members from each town continue to come together to do service as we “grow to become one county.”

The Swainsboro Police Department Community Service crew handled one of the toughest spots: the Walmart commerce wetland area.

Students and staff from Emanuel County Schools tackled Tiger Trail by cleaning the litter and blowing clear driveways. ECS superintendent Scotty Hattaway said, “We are proud that so many of our students, teachers, support staff, and administrators were eager to help with Operation Clean Sweep. This is a testimony to our students, faculty, and staff's love and pride for their school and community. SES teacher Barabara Poole and her students even started cleaning on Friday because they were unable to make Saturday’s event.

The Veterans at the Library reforged trails, cut low-lying limbs and cleared out underbrush at the Veterans and First Responders Memorial Park. Veteran Johnny Tapley commented on how fellow vet Pete Boatright, 91, came and took his rake from him and cleaned the area for over an hour. “That’s what this is all about,” Tapley said. “Taking pride.”

The Emanuel County NAACP led by Rev. Jonathan Hampton showed up in force to clean MLK and DeAlva Park. Hampton noted that his group was excited about “cleaning up some neglected areas and areas that need routine maintenance.” He also heard a few of the younger helpers asking about how the streets get so dirty. “It was a great opportunity to share the importance of every person doing their part.”

In Oak Park twenty-five community members along with Mayor Micky Lindsey and city council members Robert Warnock, Myra Hernandez and Penny Jones picked up over 20 bags of litter. Some citizens were not able to come out on Saturday, so they cleaned on Friday. And it shows. A recent KEB litter survey of Emanuel County determined Oak Park is the cleanest region of the county.

Cathi Frederiksen, veteran Pete Frederiksen and city council member Michelle Lerier-Love gathered citizens to Adrian city park to not only clean the area, but also paint the playground equipment.

In Garfield, city council member LaTrail Sheffield and Durden bank officer Zach Proctor along with members of New Beginnings in Christ church cleaned the town while Mayor Tommie Paul gathered the trash in his truck to make sure it was disposed of properly.

Summertown’s Mayor Don Bishop led a group of citizens to clean their area.

KEB chairman Tony Hutcheson would like to everyone for coming out and showing their pride in Emanuel County. He stated, “The only way we’re going to see a permanent change is for all of us to do our part to beautify the county and educate ourselves and others on how to maintain that beautification.”

If you participated in the clean up and would like to take part in the “Great Grill Giveaway,” make sure to post a photo from your clean up to Keep Emanuel Beautiful’s Facebook or Instagram posts. One lucky winner will be drawn to receive the grill. The name will be announced on social media Wednesday, April 27th.

KEB is looking forward to holding at least two clean up events a year. If you or your civic group would like to help in the planning of these events, please call 770-617-2589.

Swainsboro clean up crew

NAACP clean up crew

SES students and teacher Poole get a jumpstart on Earth Day