Association of West Virginia Solid Waste Authorities

2008 Volunteer of the Year


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Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of West Virginia’s solid waste authorities, Cabinet Secretary Huffman, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to announce the Association’s Volunteer of the Year for 2008.

This conference and awards banquet marks the 20th anniversary of the solid waste authorities of this Association, joining together, to talk about solid waste management and how it affects our daily lives. Working together, we are better equipped to protect our environment.

Before we recognize this year’s exceptional volunteer, I want to thank the Selection and Review Committee members, Tammy Bonar, Alice Jo Buzzard, Becky Harlen, and Dr. Ralph Taylor. They do yeoman’s service in evaluating the accomplishments of your nominees and I appreciate their dedication. On behalf of the Association I want to thank each solid waste authority that nominates one of its members for consideration to receive this special recognition.

Tonight’s volunteer of the year will join the rank of others who have been recognized for their accomplishments in solid waste management.

Previous volunteers who have received this honor, include: Allan Babcock of Marion County, the late Frederick Clark of Randolph County, the late Roger King of Wood County, Denver Enoch of Ritchie County, Edwin C. “Bud” Weigle of Tyler County, Walter Swiger of Harrison County, the late Harry Reiter of Brooke County, John Tuckwiller of Greenbrier County, Sarah Douglas of Wirt County, Alice Hartman of Region 8, Kurt Keesee of Greenbrier County, Willis Ridenour of Wood County and last year’s winner Wayne Bennett from the Putnam County Solid Waste Authority.

This year’s recipient has been a member of a county solid waste authority for the past seven years serving in various capacities. This volunteer is also a member of the WV Adopt-A-Highway Program and has personally removed litter on a weekly basis, from a two mile stretch of road for the past eleven years. Amazingly, this special person has single-handedly picked up over 3,500 pounds of glass, 800 pounds of plastic, 550 pounds of aluminum and tons of paper from county roadways. After collection, our volunteer sorts and washes much of this material before taking it to a recycling center. Clearly, this volunteer detests litter and is dedicated to maintaining the scenic beauty of our highways, in addition to making weekly stops at the county’s post offices, libraries and some businesses to pick up cardboard, paper, phone books and junk mail.

In 2008 alone, he has picked up over four and a half tons of paper at these establishments.

It’s important to also mention, that the accomplishments by this individual is extraordinary because the county solid waste authority operates on a diminutive budget. They have no commercial solid waste facility in the county, and their primary source of income is from the monthly assessment fee and grants from the Solid Waste Management Board and the DEP/REAP program.

If all of these accomplishments were not enough, the volunteer we are recognizing tonight assisted in this years county school recycling contest by personally sorting and counting 43,740 plastic containers, 4,167 aluminum cans and weighing 13,173 pounds of paper and cardboard that the kids collected. He participates in every fall and spring countywide clean-up project, which consists of removing litter from over 35 miles of roadside. He also purchases and places American flags along the local highway in his community.

Additionally, our volunteer is involved in planting wildflowers, and was instrumental in securing funds from the county commission to purchase a video surveillance system to catch violators who create open dumps.

His persistence and dedication in the proper management of solid waste, and in educating our citizens about the importance of recycling is remarkable!

This years outstanding volunteer moved to West Virginia in 1993, the native state of his supportive wife, Doris. You can always spot both of them at every solid waste conference, adopt-a-highway picnic, training seminar or any other function that promotes recycling and litter control. He has said to many in this room, and I quote, “West Virginia has adopted me, and now I will reciprocate by freely giving my time and effort in making her a beautiful place to live and to visit.” And without question he truly does each and every day!

My friends, it is an honor and a privilege to introduce to you, the Volunteer of the Year for 2008, a distinguished member of the Lincoln County Solid Waste Authority, Mr. Howland Sharpe.