Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful volunteers honored at luncheon

pramati@macon.comMarch 19, 2014 

The Central High School Ensemble sang America the Beautiful at the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Awards Luncheon Wednesday.

PHILLIP RAMATI

  • Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission Awards

    The Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission Awards honored individuals and organizations Wednesday for their beautification efforts. Those honorees are:
    • Beautification Award: Vineville Garden Club
    • Downtown Business of the Year: Signature Dentistry
    • Suburban Business of the Year: The Sanford Co.
    • Historical Restoration Award: Heather and Andy Moore
    • House of Worship Award: Highland Hills Baptist Church
    • Neighborhood Award: Lynmore Estates
    • Litter Prevention Award: Village Green community
    • Adopt-A-Spot Award: Hillshire Brands
    • Recycling Award: Macon Area Habitat for Humanity
    • Youth Recycling Award: Stratford Academy Ecology Club
    • Bibb County Officer of the Year: Clayton Smith
    • City of Macon Police Officers of the Year: Salim B. Abushanab and Todd Durbin
    • Macon-Bibb County Firefighter of the Year: Michael D. Cleghorn
    • Central Services Employee of the Year: Neal Davis
    • Code Enforcement Employee of the Year: Denise Mercer
    • Parks and Recreation Employee of the Year: Melvin Flowers
    • Special Recognition for Forestry and Horticulture: Randell Hunt
    • Bibb County Public Works Employee of the Year: J.B. Johnson
    • City of Macon Public Works Employee of the Year: Stephen Lawson
    • Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful/Federated Garden Clubs of Macon Yard of the Year: Angela Tomey and Franco DeMichiel
    • Volunteer of the Year: Harold C. Weathers
    • Youth of the Year: Central High School Ensemble
    • Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission Business Award: Danny Gibson
    • Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission Individual Award: Derrick Catlett
    • Carolyn Crayton Award: Mark Stevens
    • William A. Fickling Sr. Award: William D. Underwood

When Jennifer Jehn became president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful in January, she got a very important phone call during her first hour on the job.

The caller was a woman “who paved the way for me,” Jehn told attendees of an awards banquet Wednesday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission and to honor founder Carolyn Crayton and the organization’s many volunteers.

Jehn said the call from Crayton meant a lot, given Crayton’s contributions on the local, state and national levels.

“Together, we will continue to keep America beautiful,” Jehn said.

Crayton herself was honored by a proclamation from Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert, who declared Wednesday as “Carolyn Crayton Day” in the city. Reichert also presented keys to the city to Jehn and Gretchen Corbin, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Crayton recalled the formation of Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful, when she attended a conference in New York for Keep America Beautiful in 1973. In January 1974, she approached the leadership of Macon and Bibb County, which jointly approved extending an invitation to the then-president of Keep America Beautiful.

Macon immediately became the first Georgia city to establish its own Keep Beautiful Commission and became a test site for Keep America Beautiful’s Clean Community System.

Crayton thanked those in attendance for their contributions to Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful’s efforts.

“I’m overwhelmed looking out and seeing all of you,” she said, later adding, “We all realize our work must continue.”

Several of the speakers noted Crayton’s influence. Mark Stevens, chairman of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission, said Crayton is a woman everyone always says “yes” to when she asks for help.

Corbin said Macon has been a model community for beautification efforts, specifically the work of the commission and the International Cherry Blossom Festival, which Crayton co-founded in 1982.

“When Carolyn speaks, we all listen,” Corbin said, adding that Crayton also serves on the board of the Department of Community Affairs. “Her leadership has not only been in Macon, but also with the entire state office.”

Current Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful President and CEO Pam Carswell said it’s important to recognize the contributions of volunteers.

“We’re a nonprofit organization. If we didn’t have the volunteers for our beautification projects, we could not work,” she said, noting such efforts as organizations adopting different parts of Macon to keep clean.

Among the 26 awards presented Wednesday were the Carolyn Crayton Award, presented to Mark Stevens, and the William A. Fickling Sr. Award, presented to Bill Underwood.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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