Union College students earn PRIDE volunteerism awardOctober 1, 2012 by clackey
Thirty students spent two hours on Aug. 20, 2012, picking up trash and debris from the base of the Falls to the third overlook. They filled 33 trash bags and hauled them — along with a stove and other metals — above the safety rail so they could be collected by maintenance staff.
The students were participants in Union College’s Freshman Volunteer Day, which was organized by the college’s Common Partners community service organization. As part of their orientation process, freshmen were invited to choose from several volunteer activities or outdoor excursions.
“This was a good opportunity for incoming students to perform a service, which is always worthwhile, and it gave them a chance to enjoy the community that will be their home for the next four years or so,” said Cody Thompson, Senior Intern for Common Partners. He coordinated the cleanup event at the Falls.
When the team arrived at Cumberland Falls, Pamela Gibson, who handles trail maintenance and coordinates volunteers at the state resort park, said she could tell that many of the students were new to the Falls.
“They were nervous at first, but they went away planning their next effort with more confidence,” said Gibson, who nominated the students for the PRIDE award. “Some of them just met on the bus ride over, but they started working together and then to work faster by forming teams.”
“I always grow from my experiences with the volunteers here at the park, and I am grateful to say the students do, also,” Gibson added. “They took the park home in their hearts.”
“On behalf of PRIDE, I want to thank each student who volunteered,” said PRIDE’s Mark Davis, who presented a plaque to Thompson. “I also thank Cody and Pam for setting up the cleanup.”
“I’m glad you reminded us that we live in a beautiful, unique region, and we all need to make the time to explore it and keep it clean,” Davis said.
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. “We wouldn’t be where we are without our volunteers. More than 380,000 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.”
“Please tell us about PRIDE volunteers who impressed you, so we can thank them,” Davis said. “Please call us, toll free, at 888-577-4339, or please go online to submit a nomination for the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award.”