Barbara Begley is Laurel Lake stewardJune 30, 2011 by clackey
For faithfully picking up litter at Laurel River Lake, Barbara Begley earned southern and eastern Kentucky’s PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award.
Begley, who owns property near the lake, has removed nearly 900 bags of trash from the lakeshore in the last eight years. She picks up litter as she travels the shoreline in a paddle boat daily, weather permitting. She takes her trash bags to the 312 boat ramp, and they are collected by Whitley County Road Department.
Begley also volunteers during the annual Laurel River Lake Cleanup. For the past two years, she has volunteered to oversee a registration site at the 312 boat ramp, expanding the area reached by the cleanup.
As an artist, Begley even turns some trash into treasures. She has a Christmas tree decorated entirely with lures and bobbers she found on the lake and then fashioned into Santa Clauses, gift boxes and other artworks.
“We are so lucky to have a lake this magical, and it’s unacceptable to have it trashed up,” said Begley to explain why she volunteers. “I enjoy being on the lake, even if I’m picking stuff up,” Begley said. “Every time I look up I’m in the most beautiful place in the world.”
“So much of the trash on the lake actually blows there from the roads,” Begley has observed. “It would help the lake if everyone would just keep a plastic bag from the grocery in the car and put trash in that, instead of throwing it out the window.”
“I want to give credit to my neighbors, Todd Carter, Bill and Will Stewart, and Robert Cloyd, for helping me take the trash bags up to the boat ramp,” Begley added.
“Barbie, you’re a joy to work with during the Laurel Lake Cleanup, and your daily cleanups really show the power of one person to make a difference,” said PRIDE’s Mark Davis, who presented the award to Begley during the Laurel County Fiscal Court meeting last week. “Thank you for serving your community.”
“Barbara’s contribution of time and energy in keeping Laurel River Lake clean is much appreciated and has provided a great service to the Daniel Boone National Forest,” said Derek J.S. Ibarguen, District Ranger, London Ranger District.
The PRIDE Volunteer of the Month program recognizes hard work and dedication to the PRIDE initiative, which promotes environmental education and cleanup efforts in 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. With corporate sponsorship from TECO Coal, WYMT-TV airs commercials about each PRIDE Volunteer of the Month.
“Volunteers are the backbone of PRIDE,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, who co-founded PRIDE in 1997 with James E. Bickford, Kentucky Environmental Protection Secretary. “We wouldn’t be where we are without our volunteers. More than 320,000 volunteers have helped with PRIDE cleanup and education projects. We want to thank TECO Coal for helping PRIDE give these generous people the recognition they deserve.”
In 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky, PRIDE links citizens with the resources of local, state and federal agencies to improve the region’s water quality, clean up solid waste problems, and advance environmental education.
If you know a person or group making a difference with PRIDE, please nominate them for the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award by clicking here.