Association of West Virginia Solid Waste Authorities

2014 Volunteer of the Year

 

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VOLUNTEER OF YEAR AWARD FOR 2014

Announcement by Mark D Holstine

 

Distinguished members of West Virginia’s solid waste authorities, Senator Plymale, Cabinet Secretary Huffman, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen; it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to announce the Association’s Volunteer of the Year for 2014.

West Virginia is very fortunate to have so many hard working volunteers serving on its local solid waste authorities.  The work that you do goes well beyond improving solid waste management in our state; it demonstrates that you are good stewards of the earth.   As a volunteer and without expectation of reward, your personal dedication to this endeavor has an important impact on other people’s lives.  These volunteer efforts help protect our environment and improve the world around us.

Tonight we are here to recognize a native West Virginian and Solid Waste Authority board member since 1993.  Back at that time, the SWA still operated a landfill even though the leachate collection and sediment ponds were overflowing following a moderate rainfall.  The SWA received several Notices of Violation from the DEP.  Thanks to this year’s Volunteer of the Year who worked diligently to get some of the assessed violations and penalties abated.  By 1994, the decision was made to permanently close the technologically outdated landfill.  Our honoree negotiated with the DEP to have the landfill placed in the Landfill Closure Assistance Program.  Today, the landfill is capped and is contributing a minimal amount of leachate that needs to be treated.

Our honoree was elected treasurer of his Authority and subsequentially discovered $20,000 of unaccounted SWA funds.  Following many months of research into the missing money, the misappropritaed funds were recovered and a criminal prosecution of the perpetrator for embezzlement followed. 

After the closure of the county landfill, the county SWA switched its focus to start a sustainable county recycling program.  SWA members worked hundreds of hours to plan the recycling program.  Under his leadership, several successful grant applications were submitted and approved.  By 1996, the recycling program was off to a good start in an old, undersized and unheated steel frame building  operated by a part time employee and local volunteer.

Like many of your local recycling programs across the state, this county experienced some ups and downs with the program.  At one point the SWA was forced to temporarily transport its recycling materials to another recycling facility where they were not compensated for the materials.  Our honoree led a campaign to find a permanent home for the county recycling program.  To his credit, our Volunteer of the Year negotiated to acquire some surplus property owned by the West Virginia Department of Highways.  He also led the effort to find more grant money to construct a new building which now serves the households and commercial recycling needs of the county.  One milestone of its success, the program has more than doubled the volume of materials recycled since 2004.

As Chair, our honoree has willingly accepted the responsibility of negotiating, preparing and maintaining required permits, securing liability insurance and audits, organizing collections for tires and covered electronics devices, expanding community education and awareness of recycling. His impact has been tremendous on every aspect of the Authority.

Born in Parkersburg, tonight’s Volunteer of the Year attended public schools and graduated from West Virginia University with a major in Forestry.  After graduating he worked on the Monongahela National Forest in Parsons where he met his wife.  Following a short assignment in Summersville, he began his employment with the Federal Office of Surface Mining as a mine inspector.  Over the next 35 years or so he has served in many capacities and is currently the Branch Chief. 

He and his wife have twin sons who he volunteered to coach with the county little league baseball program.  In addition to his service to the Jackson County Solid Waste Authority, he serves on the Ripley Sanitation Board where he has been addressing the aging sewer and water treatment system. 

It is with honor, I present to you, your Volunteer of the Year for 2014, Richard “Rick” Buckley.