Just entering its fourth year of existence, Keep Haralson Beautiful, which promotes sustainable environmental practices in the county, thanked some of its supporters on Tuesday.
At its annual awards luncheon, the board members and director of Keep Haralson Beautiful, praised the work of locals who responded to the organization’s call to action by recruiting volunteers for events and educating students about good environmental practices.
Brian Krasielwicz, chairman of the Keep Haralson Beautiful Board of Directors, said supporters of the organization’s mission are important to its success and it starts with childhood education.
“If we can take a small child and teach them what’s right or wrong, that’s something that’s going to reverberate,” Krasielwicz said. “That’s something they’re not going to let go.”
That education isn’t up to the school systems, he added. It’s up to the community to teach children to value the environment through the actions residents take.
“This is our land and these are our people,” Krasielwicz said. “These are our stores and these are our neighbors and each one plays a role.”
Ann Crim, executive director of Keep Haralson Beautiful, said one of the ways people teach is through beautifying the towns and communities they live in. The board recognized the city of Bremen for taking a property that would otherwise be an unsightly dead lot and built a park on it that the whole community can enjoy, Crim said. The Bremen Depot Park across from the downtown is not only beautiful, it is welcoming, she said.
Additionally, the board recognized Mary Tolleson for her contribution to beautifying the city of Tallapoosa by purchasing a lot with a dilapidated house on it and turning it into Standpipe Park, a haven for local artists.
The board also recognized the volunteers that help pull off the events that the organization hosts throughout the year.
“Our volunteers are the backbone of Keep Haralson Beautiful,” Crim said. “We can always depend on those Haralson County High School students to be there and they work. They work very hard and all of that is due to the leadership of this one teacher.”
Cheryl Smith, who supervises the school’s Beta Club, has made sure her students are at every event the organization has had, Crim said.
Smith said she would accept the award for her students.
“They are the workhorses,” Smith said. “They really are proud of their home and they want to be part of it.”
Crim also had awards for two other organizations that partnered with KHB for events. The Haralson County Solid Waste Authority waived dumping fees for a county clean up, she said. B and D Recycling also partnered with KHB to recycle junk cars that might otherwise sit on people’s property and rust.
Eric McDonald, president of the Greater Haralson Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the luncheon, praised the organization’s efforts. The cleanliness of a community is one of the things that people notice when they visit, he said. It can impact their impression of the county, McDonald said. KHB, through its efforts, helps the community help itself, he said.
“Keep Haralson Beautiful is an empowerer,” said Eric McDonald. “You empower people to make our community better and we all feel better when we do that.”