In a ceremony held at the breathtakingly beautiful Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. proudly presented the President’s Award, their most distinguished award, to the Harrison Township Environmental Committee for their May 2011 Boat Town Nautical Coast Clean Up. Additionally, as Event Coordinator, Teri Landis was presented with the Michigan Award.
A non-profit, educational organization, Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. was incorporated in Michigan in 1962. Their mission is “To promote, to provide education, and to recognize beautification and restoration projects throughout the state of Michigan.” Their Annual Award Ceremony presented 44 winners with one of four awards: Award of Merit, Distinguished Service Plaque, Michigan Plaque, and the President’s Plaque, with 4 Special Plaques also being awarded.
The receipt of the President’s Award, for the May 2011 Boat Town Nautical Coast Clean Up, became possible as Teri Landis, representing the Harrison Township Environmental Committee, brought together various segments of the Community.
This included Tom Cleaver and the “We Are Here Foundation,” the Civil Air Patrol Cadets with Mike Fultz and Jim Healy, William Steen and Cadets of the Great Lakes Division of the US Naval Sea Cadets, the Boy Scouts with Steve Grabowski, Marge Kohler and members of St. Hubert’s Parish, L’Anse Creuse High School students, Baker College students, Supervisor Ken Verkest, Tom Bane and the Harrison Township Maintenance Department, Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and the trustees of Macomb County, Jim Pershing, former Park Superintendent and the Metropolitan Beach Maintenance staff, State Representative Anthony Forlini, and the dedicated residents and members of the Harrison Township Environmental Committee.
Those Environmental Committee members are Barbara Bollin, Jim Keehn, Herb Lorentz, and Ken Verkest, as Board Liaison, now replaced by Dave Bratto, as Verkest has assumed the Supervisor position.
The combined efforts of 100 people over a weekend enabled the removal of 23.18 tons of rotting vegetation and debris from the shoreline and surrounding areas of Lake St. Clair in six different locations. As this was the Fifth Annual Boat Town Nautical Coast Clean Up, “We’ve developed a system,” Landis remarked, “which allows for the larger collection of rotting vegetation and debris, with a small group of people.”
Ken Verkest, Harrison Township Supervisor, said, “I think the kinds of strong volunteerism, rising to the level of being recognized at a state wide level is an excellent example of Community. We are fortunate to have many groups of this type in our Township, such as Parks and Recreation, Beautification, Historical, the Library, and the Environmental Committee has surely led the way.”
Congresswoman Candice Miller shares that, “I offer my sincere congratulations to the Harrison Township Environmental Committee for receiving the honor of the President’s Plaque from Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. This award is a testament to the wonderful achievements this group has accomplished and I applaud them for their continued focus on improving and protecting our environment and the community in Harrison Township. I commend Event Coordinator, Teri Landis, and the many volunteers who have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for area residents and for getting the community involved with preserving our wonderful natural resources. I wish them continued success as they work to see their future goals come to fruition and thank them for their service to our community.”
In addition to her congratulations, the U.S. Congress through and signed by Congresswoman Candice Miller sent both the Harrison Township Environmental Committee, representing all of the volunteers, and Teri Landis a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” for their outstanding and invaluable service to the community.
Speaking of Community, Marge Kohler, Coordinator of Youth Ministry and Faith Formation of St. Hubert’s Parish, explained, “We are very happy to be part of Harrison Township’s Clean Up activities. We truly believe that we are called to be of service to others and to take care of this great gift – the Earth. One of the Catholic social teachings calls us to ‘Care for Creation.’ We also believe in putting our faith in action…thank you for the opportunity to be able to do this in our Community. Your great efforts show!”
The show for the Civil Air Patrol Cadets was from a different perspective, as Michael E. Fultz, Lt. Col, CAP Commander, GLR-MI-176 reports. “The Civil Air Patrol Cadets had a ball removing trash from the ‘floating island of garbage’ at the mouth of the Clinton River Spillway. It was a challenge to know where the island ended.” The 176th Selfridge Composite Squadron has assisted in the Nautical Coast Clean Up for the past three years.
And, for the past few years Tringali Sanitation has been a huge part in the success of the Boat Town Nautical Coast Clean Up, as they have supplied the dumpsters. Operations Manager, Bob Zee says that, “We are glad to be a part of this environmental clean up and help support the community in this great undertaking.”
Communities in and around Lake St. Clair are close knit. And because of the coverage of the presentation of the Keep Michigan Beautiful President’s Award to Clinton Township’s George George Park, and speaking with Supervisor Robert Cannon last year, the idea of the nomination of the Boat Town Nautical Coast Clean Up for an award took shape.
“I am extremely proud and happy that the Harrison Township Environmental Committee received the Keep Michigan Beautiful President’s Award. It was well deserved for a group that continues to work on one of our area and the state’s most precious resource. I know they will continue their good works into the future,” remarked Cannon, who along with being the Supervisor of Clinton Township, is also the SEMCOG Immediate Past Chair.
Grace Shore, CEO of the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce shared, “This is a well deserved and well earned honor. We are lucky to have such dedicated residents in Harrison Township and our community.”
State Representative Anthony Forlini, echoed some of the same thoughts when he told us, ‘It was worthwhile to head out even in the rain to do our part to beautify the community. Groups like the Harrison Township Environmental Committee keep the lake clean for future generations. As we step up the Pure Michigan campaign, we want Harrison Township to always be an attractive destination for residents and tourists alike.”
Chiming in, Director of Communications of the Michigan Boating Industries Asssociation, Nicki Polan, said, “Congratulations to the Harrison Township Environmental Committee and Teri Landis for the awards bestowed on them recognizing their work to beautify Harrison Township. Their clean up efforts have great impact on the general community and the boating community. We are pleased there are awards for those whose work benefits the quality of life for all who live, do business and recreate in Harrison Township.”
Steve Remias, President of MacRay Harbor and a continual supporter of the Boat Town Nautical Coast Clean Up shares that, “So much was done with so little. We congratulate the efforts of the Harrison Township Environmental Committee and all of the volunteers for their commitment and dedication to preserving the water quality of Lake St. Clair and also the quality of life in the community surrounding her.”
With letters of support also coming from Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Johnny Butler of Harv’s Hardware, Jim Pershing, former Park Superintendent at Metropolitan Beach now HCMA Southern District Manager, Jennine Walsh, Mother of both a L’Anse Creuse High School student and a Baker College student, reiterating the same hearty endorsement of an award for this monumental task, Landis shared that, “It was, indeed, a thrill and a pleasure to accept both the President’s Award on behalf of the Harrison Township Environmental Committee and all of the volunteers, and the Michigan Award, personally, from Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc.”
“In addition, to receive a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” for both the Harrison Township Environmental Committee on behalf of all of the volunteers, and myself is a genuine honor,” Landis said smilingly. “And with continued support and development, we hope to be back next year with another nomination for Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. to consider.”