Keep Georgia Beautiful Awards Luncheon recognizes Bartow's environmental efforts
by Marie Nesmith
Dec 14, 2013 | 1086 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County took center stage in several categories at the 35th annual Keep Georgia Beautiful Awards Luncheon, which recognized the efforts of organizations and individuals striving to enhance the state’s environment. The program was conducted Wednesday at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta.

“I’m so excited,” said Missy Phillips, assistant coordinator for Keep Bartow Beautiful. “Along with Anheuser-Busch winning, Keep Bartow Beautiful came in third [for the affiliate category], the Allatoona Community Association came in first and Peggy Martin got the Carolyn Crayton Woman of the Year Award — now that is a really big deal. She got the only full-room standing ovation of the whole award ceremony. It was fabulous.

“Peggy Martin, she is a very accomplished person, but she’s very quiet about all her accomplishments. ... She’s worked with every person from every level you could possibly think of and was able to pull the Allatoona Community Association together and help us get that $500,000 grant to bring services down to [the Allatoona community],” she said, referring to future offerings, such as a resource center on Glade Road as well as a collection site for solid waste and recycled materials. “... So Bartow County, we really racked up this year, but it is mainly because of the work that’s going on down in the Allatoona Community Association and Peggy.”

Although she does not seek recognition for her efforts, Martin, who helped form the Allatoona Community Association about 10 years ago and currently serves as its president, was honored by the accolade.

“From the time they informed me to when we were actually having the award ceremony, I was growing more and more appreciative,” Martin said. “I’m not much on awards. It was really a matter of it’s a validation of the work that we’ve been doing for a number of years ... and it made us realize that we weren’t just trudging alone and invisible. It’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, we’re getting an award for this.’ So winning it, it’s awfully nice. I’m very appreciative.

“... The Allatoona Community Association is] a grassroots nonprofit. It is not a service nonprofit and we don’t do major fundraising. We’re just trying to advocate for this community, this heavily populated community with a very diverse population. We have about 7,000 people here by Census count. So we are interested in supporting the community and in working with the county ... [to find] how we can help you — the county — support this area, so that it can get on its feet because it’s been sort of a neglected area.”

While Martin was named Woman of the Year, the Allatoona Community Association placed first for a nonprofit/civic group in the Litter Prevention category. On the national level, the organization also recently was awarded a second-place prize in the same category from Keep America Beautiful.

“It’s a very small section, rather isolated,” Phillips said about the Allatoona community in south Bartow. “It has actually no municipality affiliation and it is second in population to Cartersville, even though it’s so much smaller. Of course, there is a good deal of poverty there, so they are not able to actually drive and reach county services.

“We didn’t really have any until the Allatoona Community Association led by Peggy and helped by Keep Bartow Beautiful’s Sheri [Henshaw], they were able to kind of communicate their needs to the county. ... So what they did was they brought attention to a problem that pretty much was out of sight, out of mind.”

Also at the state ceremony, Anheuser-Busch’s Cartersville brewery won first for a business in the Waste Reduction and Recycling category. The brewery’s 99.8 recycle rate tops Anheuser-Busch’s corporate average.

“We recently just won, for the second time, [a] Keep Georgia Beautiful award and that was for our waste reduction,” Michelle Cooper Kelly — senior resident manager at the brewery — told The Daily Tribune News in November. “I think the beauty that I love about this company is the relationship that we have in the community, and our employees take a lot of pride in our annual cleanups for the Etowah River Basin as well as Lake Allatoona and the relationships that we have.”