BATON ROUGE, LA. – Over 160 guests gathered at the Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) Everyday Hero Awards Banquet on Wednesday, September 25th to honor outstanding individuals, businesses, and organizations for their extraordinary efforts in furthering KLB’s mission to “promote personal, corporate and community responsibility for a clean and beautiful Louisiana.” After a keynote address by Michael Tipton, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, who implored the audience to express their love for the state and our future by actively volunteering, Master of Ceremonies and Keep Louisiana Beautiful board member, Andy Johnson invited special guests to the stage to present the 2019 Everyday Hero Awards. Those honored were:
Alice Foster Award: Matthew Stuller, Lafayette
Louisiana’s former First Lady, Alice Foster, played a crucial role in beautification and preservation efforts across the state, which helped to launch Keep Louisiana Beautiful. The Alice Foster Award recognizes an individual volunteer for their exceptional leadership in litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling and beautification. Matthew Stuller, who has worked tirelessly over the past twenty years to preserve his community’s natural beauty, protect watershed habitats, and cleanup litter, received this prestigious award. Mr. Stuller was presented with the award by Mr. Troy West, son of former First Lady Alice Foster.
Golden Can Award | Timothy Kerner, Jean Lafitte
This award recognizes a public servant who displays a deep commitment to KLB’s mission in their daily work by going above and beyond the call of duty. Timothy Kerner, Mayor of Jean Lafitte, who has worked diligently to build tidal protection levees, invest in new bridges and pump stations, creating the Wetlands Trace and improving the walkability of his town, was this year’s recipient. Mayor Kerner was presented the award by Dr. Susan Strain, Keep Louisiana Beautiful board chair.
Most Innovative Program Award | Union Parish Library and West Monroe Recycling Center
This award recognizes a successful beautification, litter prevention, recycling, or waste reduction program led by a school, civic group, non-profit or KAB affiliate. The first recipient, Union Parish Library launched a program to heighten awareness and bring much needed attention to the litter problem in Union Parish with the “Save Our Swamp” exhibit. They also implemented KLB’s environmental education in classrooms throughout the parish, and hosted a parish-wide clean waterway project by recruiting volunteers to clean all public boat launches on their lake, rivers, bayous, and creeks. The second winner, the West Monroe Recycling Center, is a municipal-operated recycling center that offers free drop off service to all City of West Monroe residents as well as anyone who wishes to use the facility, despite where they are geographically located. Since its official opening in September 2018, more than 260,000 pounds of recyclable materials have been collected. These awards were presented by Dawn Cantrell, Vice President, Care Management, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.
Youth Leadership Award | Rapides High School JAG
This award recognizes a student or youth-led group that displays creative thinking, demonstrates effective leadership, and engages their peers to make a significant impact on their community. Over three years, 217 students of the Rapides High School JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) have contributed 1,153 hours in 6 Great American Cleanup weekday workdays. During that time, they picked up litter, removed mulch from curbs, cleaned public spaces including weeding flower beds at Carter C. Raymond Elementary School, Lecompte High School Museum, Town Hall, Historic Smith’s Landing, and Louisiana Garden Club Federation Headquarters. Rapides High School JAG was presented the Youth Leadership Award by Assistant Superintendent of Academic Content for the Louisiana Department of Education, Jill Cowart.
Outstanding Affiliate Award | Shreveport Green
This award recognizes a Keep America Beautiful affiliate that shows fortitude, leadership, creative and diverse programming, and community engagement. Whether planting gardens, organizing neighborhood clean-ups, or hosting a camp, for more than 29 years, Shreveport Green has worked to affect positive change in the City of Shreveport. Thanks to new initiatives, careful planning, and skillful coalition-building, Shreveport Green has demonstrated strong vision and leadership which has resulted in a cleaner, more attractive community and enhanced the quality of life for all who call it their home. Shreveport Green director Donna Curtis was presented the award by Jane Polson, Trainer at Keep America Beautiful.
Outstanding Affiliate Director Award | Christy Delgado, Mandeville
This award recognizes a Keep America Beautiful affiliate director who demonstrates exceptional dedication to KLB’s mission and leadership in building a strong and sustainable organization. Christy Delgado of Keep Mandeville Beautiful, has created new initiatives and incentives to engage an even larger circle of influence in the Mandeville community. Mrs. Delgado has worked to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags by encouraging the use of re-usable shopping bags, educating community members on waste reduction and litter prevention, and planting community gardens. Mrs. Delgado was presented the award by E.J. Forgotston, Founder of Tangi Clean.
Corporate Leadership Award | Audubon Nature Institute, New Orleans
This award recognizes a business that demonstrates a consistent dedication to KLB’s mission, environmental stewardship and community enrichment. Audubon committed to eliminating plastic water bottles, bags, and straws from its facilities and phasing out plastic beverage bottles. Audubon now offers guests eco-friendly alternatives, such as paper straws and water in aluminum cans. These changes are keeping a quarter of a million pieces of plastic out of the waste stream each year. In addition to implementing eco-friendly business practices and sharing plastic reduction messaging at its facilities, Audubon works with local businesses to encourage them to choose biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastics and rallies individuals to join the fight by participating in plastic reduction initiatives. The award was presented to Audubon Nature Institute by David D’Aquin, Manager of Public Affairs for Cox Communications.
Law Enforcement Recognition Award | Barbara Arcement
This award recognizes law enforcement personnel including Justices of the Peace, Constables, judges, and code enforcement officers who are successful at enforcing state, parish, or city litter and illegal dumping laws. Officer Barbara Arcement of the Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs has organized more than 100 community clean ups, neighborhood sweeps, and beautification projects. In addition to performing her job at an exemplary level, Officer Arcement demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the guiding principles of Keep Louisiana Beautiful as well as to the environment. Officer Arcement was presented the award by Deputy Secretary Malcolm Myer, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.