Association of West Virginia Solid Waste Authorities

2012 Volunteer of the Year

 

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VOLUNTEER OF YEAR AWARD FOR 2012

Announcement by Mark D Holstine

 

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and Chair, Joyce Harris Thacker.  Tonight I am given the privilege of representing and presenting for the Association of the West Virginia Solid Waste Authoritiesí the distinguished Volunteer of the Year award!

Our volunteers for the local and regional solid waste authorities do so much more for us than just support our local solid waste authoritiesí.  Each volunteer offers their time and talents to improve our communities, and promote enhancements that shape a better environment throughout West Virginia.

We value the unselfish support given by our many willing volunteers, and are thankful for the excellent service they provide to achieve countless accomplishments.  We do not take for granted their dedication, and realize without them we would not be successful.  Thank you!

Tonight, however, we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge our appreciation for the contributions, and accomplishments reached over many years of support offered by one significant volunteer.

Demonstrating the importance of serving others, this yearís Volunteer has served our country in the United States Army, has been volunteering for the local solid waste authority since 1992, and has assisted in mastering considerable challenges faced in the local authority. 

When tonightís honoree first began volunteering the local authority was nearing bankruptcy, however, with dedication and hard work the budget hardships were conquered, and all outstanding debt resolved.  The obstacles encountered by the authority over the years unfortunately were not limited to just financial stability issues. 

Our honoree worked in cooperation with the WV-DNR and the West Virginia Governorís Office to undertake the cleanup of a 10 acre tire pile, leading to the remediation of the site.  Following this cleanup, our honoree assumed a leadership position in redeveloping the property from a Brownfield site into a comprehensive drop-off recycling facility owned and operated by the local solid waste authority.  Thanks to the collaboration between the authority, county commission, WV-DNR, WV-DEP, Bureau of Health, WV Attorney Generalís Office and the community, this multi-year endeavor was successful.  Today, the site is a community asset, and one of the most all-encompassing drop-off recycling centers in the stateMore than 50,000 vehicles entered this free recycling facility last year, which is also used to conduct special collection events for special items such as tires, and has collected an estimated 55,000 tires.

The authority presently operates three drop-off recycle centers, in addition to supporting various curbside collections.  Participation in the program has increased to around 100,000 annual visits and tonnages have grown to 4,400 tons/ year.  This program is operated entirely by the authority with a current annual budget of close to $240,000. 

This yearís honoree also assisted with the managing of approximately $800,000 in Federal, State, local and private grants funds to improve the countyís recycling organization.  Currently, the countyís recycling program has six employees and over 40 pieces of modern equipment.

Another long term challenge faced head on by the authority was the closure of the old county landfill in cooperation with the WV-DEPís Landfill Closure Assistance Program.  Our honoreeís participation was fundamental in redeveloping the property into one of the three comprehensive drop-off recycling facilities owned and operated by the authority.  This free center is also open 6 days per week and served over 40,000 vehicles in 2011, in addition to being used as a collection site for a household hazardous waste event.

Our honorees commitment has remained steadfast to recycling in the county, participating and organizing other events including a Freon unit collection, and electronic collection program.  These collections are a very important component to the open dumping initiatives, and without them this waste could possibly end up in roadside dumps.

Most recently our honoree shared in the discussions leading to the completion of the environmental and legal requirements connected with a former brickyard operation.  These discussions resulted in the county receiving a 78 acre donation from a private company to be enjoyed in the future as a county park, reducing the concern of the county becoming the residence of a large scale mega-landfill. 

During the 20 years of volunteer service our honoree has given, they have served as The Boardís Vice Chairman, as well as the Treasurer, and not only attended meetings, but actively pursued a plan of action.  He is an outstanding example for all West Virginians to look up to.  In addition to the service provided to the authority our honoree is very active in the community, donating service and time to support the church, the local watershed association, local youth programs, and the local transit authority.  Our honoree has also been recognized as a Recycling Champion by the Recycling Coalition of West Virginia and by the Berkeley County Commission for his dedication to the community.

These honors were obtained without any financial profit, and are only a few illustrations of how the dedication of one individual has produced a healthier, cleaner, and more beautiful West Virginia we all can be proud of.

A life-long West Virginian, he resides along with his wife Linda, in Inwood, WV, and is known as the unofficial Mayor of Inwood.  Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor to introduce to you, the 2012 Volunteer of the Year, from Berkeley County, Mr. Edgar Mason.