The Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI) this week honored three individuals and one local business for their efforts to support the river protection organization and efforts to protect the area’s natural resources.
The awards were announced Jan. 26 at CRBI’s annual membership meeting in Rome.
Bernie Hrul of Rome received the Ray Kelley Volunteer of the Year award. Hrul has volunteered with CRBI for several years and this year served as the lead fryer at the organization’s Fish Fry. He has also played a lead role in organizing the 7 Hills 3 Rivers Adventure Race and has volunteered at numerous other CRBI fundraisers and paddle trips.
The award is named in memory of Ray Kelley of Gaylesville, Alabama, one CRBI’s founding members who led the effort to stop textile plant pollution on the Chattooga River.
Vivian Davis Chesley was recognized with CRBI’s Environmental Educator Award. Chesley serves as the coordinator of the Arrowhead Environmental Education Center which provides opportunities for students from Floyd County and surrounding counties. The Center reaches thousands of school children each year and partners with CRBI on education programs.
Heritage Auto Group received CRBI’s Cedar Creek Park Corporate Citizen Award. The Rome auto dealership has been a long time supporter of CRBI and this year donated a truck lease to the organization. The truck has been used to tow CRBI’s patrol boat and provide support at CRBI paddle trips and events. Heritage also served as one of the inaugural sponsors of CRBI’s Green Gala event.
Terrell Shaw, a retired educator from Rome, received the organization’s Margie T. Harbin Environmental Advocacy Award. CRBI presents this award on special occasions to individuals that have accomplished extraordinary work to protect our rivers.
Shaw served as the primary organizer of the “Save Rome’s Central Park” group that launched a social media campaign focused on the Rome City Commission election. Shaw’s efforts helped lead to the election of two new city commissioners and sent a clear message to incumbents that Rome voters want to preserve the city’s Burwell Creek wetlands and floodplain, a property currently threatened with development into a regional shopping center.
The award is named in honor of Margie T. Harbin, a staunch CRBI supporter who died in 2009.
Also at the meeting, Devon and David Smyth of Savannah won a Primo Kamado All-In-One ceramic grill and smoker donated by The Pool Store in Rome. The drawing was held as part of CRBI’s New Year’s membership drive. The month-long membership drive generated more than $2400 to support CRBI river protection programs.