Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment

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Region’s top volunteer award goes to Smithfield Packaging of Middlesboro

Smithfield Packaging of Middlesboro, PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Oct 11

Front row, left to right: Middlesboro PRIDE Coordinator Randy Melton and Smithfield employees Ronnie Carter, Tom Bohr and Jay Blevins. Back row: Bell County PRIDE Coordinator John O’Boyle; Smithfield employees Reid Tong, Reggie Brown and Tommy Elliot; and Mayor Bill Kelley.

A Middlesboro business was honored with southern and eastern Kentucky’s PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award for October 2011.

Smithfield Packaging earned the award for volunteering to clean up a local waterway in preparation for a fun, safe fishing event for the city’s children in April, which was PRIDE Spring Cleanup Month.

On April 7, 15 Smithfield employees removed flood debris and other trash along 1.5 miles of Yellow Creek in downtown Middlesboro. They collected 13 grocery carts, 12 tires and one ton of debris from the water and creek banks.

On April 9, hundreds of local children enjoyed the clean area as they caught rainbow trout during the city’s fourth annual Fish Fest. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife stocked the city canal with rainbow trout for the event, which was a partnership among many local agencies.

“We thank Smithfield Foods for demonstrating such leadership and community spirit,” said PRIDE’s Mark Davis, who presented the award. “By tackling a messy job, the Smithfield employees made sure children had the chance to discover the joy of fishing.”

“They actually did double duty for the environment,” Davis said. “Not only did they clean up a waterway, but they also cleared the way for an environmental education activity. You see, hands-on events like the Fish Fest create lasting memories and lead to better stewardship of the environment throughout life.”

“I thank all who gave their time to this event,” said Terry O’Rourke, who is the plant manager and captain of Smithfield’s PRIDE Team. The team plans to make this an annual event.

Smithfield Foods was the first to achieve ISO14001 in its industry. ISO14001 is the international gold standard for environmental management.

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 founded PRIDE in 1997. “We wouldn’t be where we are without our volunteers. More than 360,000 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.”

If you know a person or group making a difference with PRIDE, please nominate them for the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award. Click here for the nomination form.

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