Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

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The Friends of Lake Cumberland win award, invite new faces

PRIDE honored the Friends of Lake Cumberland for the group’s 26 years of service. Members who accepted the award were (left to right): Steve Syphax, Darro Cottle, Billie Cottle, Shirley Syphax, Ken Wolfram, Nancy Kincaid, Ken Kincaid, Cheri Wolfram, Mack Chandler and Kathy Chandler.

PRIDE honored the Friends of Lake Cumberland for the group’s 26 years of service. Members who accepted the award were (left to right): Steve Syphax, Darro Cottle, Billie Cottle, Shirley Syphax, Ken Wolfram, Nancy Kincaid, Ken Kincaid, Cheri Wolfram, Mack Chandler and Kathy Chandler.

In 1990, a group of concerned citizens formed a nonprofit organization, the Friends of Lake Cumberland (FOLC), to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in maintaining the lake’s natural beauty by removing debris and litter from the 1,200 miles of shoreline.

Since then, the group has recruited 12,468 volunteers to collect 94,968 bags of trash and 18,669 tires through its signature event — the annual Friends of Lake Cumberland Cleanup. The 2015 cleanup drew 414 volunteers and netted 1,044 bags of trash and 133 tires from the lake.

Keeping the lake clean is an ongoing challenge, given the lake’s vast size and popularity. Trash and debris continually flow downstream through the lake’s drainage basin, which extends far into eastern Kentucky. Lake visitors also leave their mark, contributing to the pollution problem.

“It is actually a very small group of FOLC members who organize the massive cleanup each year, and they deserve a big thanks from the entire lake community,” said Tammie Wilson of PRIDE, a nonprofit organization that supports cleanup efforts in southern and eastern Kentucky. “A clean lake benefits everyone who lives or visits here or runs a business in this area.”

“The Friends exemplify the inspirational words by Margaret Mead, who said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,’” Wilson said.

Mead’s quote was engraved on the award that Wilson presented on behalf of PRIDE to FOLC in appreciation for the group’s dedication and service.

“If you want to change your part of the world, then joining the Friends of Lake Cumberland is a good place to start,” Wilson said. “They want to bring in new members who can carry on this vital service project for years and years into the future.”

“The fact is, we have 22 members now, and we need help,” said Steve Syphax, FOLC president. “This is a great opportunity for people in the community to get involved in something that is important to our area.”

“We only have one meeting a month from March until October,” Syphax said. “We invite anyone who wants to help to join our next meeting.”

“We welcome your help,” he added.

The next FOLC meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 16. In July, the group will return to its regular schedule of meeting at 5:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. All meetings are held in the maintenance building at the Corps of Engineers facility at 855 Boat Dock Road in Somerset.

The group is now planning the 27th annual Friends of Lake Cumberland Cleanup, which will be held Sept. 17. Volunteer registration sites will be at General Burnside Island State Park, Waitsboro Recreation Area, Conley Bottom Resort, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and Grider Hill Dock. After the cleanup, volunteers will gather for free picnics at Burnside Island and Lake Cumberland State Resort Park.

For more information, call the Corps of Engineers at 606.679.6337 or look for the Friends of Lake Cumberland on Facebook.

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