Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment

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PRIDE’s top volunteer recruits organ donors

Bobby Thorpe, with his wife, Kim Thorpe, accepted the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award. Photo by Calvin Saum II.

Bobby Thorpe, with his wife, Kim Thorpe, accepted the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award. Photo by Calvin Saum II.

Breathitt County’s Bobby Thorpe has won the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award for leading a special cleanup event that honored a life lost and promoted a life-saving cause.

Thorpe, who is the owner and editor of the Breathitt Advocate newspaper, organized volunteers to pick up litter along Highway 1098 on Sept. 20. Two dozen people volunteered, and together they removed 64 bags of trash along two miles in four hours.

Thorpe has spearheaded a road cleanup in this spot several times over the years, but this time, it was different. He held this cleanup in memory of his family member, Josh Thorpe, who was killed in a car crash just weeks earlier.

This cleanup was also special because representatives of Trust for Life, the state’s organ donation awareness program, were on hand to sign up organ donors. Thorpe invited them to set up a booth because organ donation was a favorite cause of Josh.

Josh had signed up to be an organ donor, and four lives were saved by donation of his organs after his death. At his memorial cleanup, 10 new people were added to the state’s registry of people willing to donate their organs.

“I admire Mr. Thorpe for creating such a meaningful tribute to Josh,” said PRIDE’s Jennifer Johnson. She surprised Thorpe with the award yesterday at the Breathitt County Circuit Clerk office, which is the local registration site for organ donors.

“Mr. Thorpe found a way to honor Josh that built on his passion for community service and organ donation,” Johnson said. “Lives will be saved by those 10 new organ donors, and everyone can enjoy the cleaner community. What a great legacy that will endure in Josh’s memory.”

“Bobby has always been active in helping the people of our community,” said Calvin Saum II, the Breathitt County Solid Waste, Recycling and PRIDE Coordinator, who nominated Thorpe for the PRIDE award. “He is one of the most selfless persons I know.”

“Bobby has a long history of public service, some volunteer, some paid, but always above and beyond the call of duty,” Saum said. “He has been an EMT for approximately 25 years. He has served many years on the Heritage Fair Committee and helped found the event.”

“I think it was a great deed by involving Trust for Life in his most recent cleanup,” Saum added.

To add your name to the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry, visit the Circuit Clerk office in the Breathitt County Justice Center at 1131 Main Street, or go to www.trustforlife.org. To volunteer to clean the community, call Saum at 606-666-3818 or 606-568-6566.

The PRIDE Volunteer of the Month program recognizes hard work and dedication to the PRIDE initiative, which promotes environmental education and cleanup efforts in a 42-county region. With corporate sponsorship from TECO Coal, WYMT-TV airs commercials about each PRIDE Volunteer of the Month.

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