Special to the Times-Tribune
In honor of his dedication to the annual Laurel Lake Cleanup, Lt. Col. Rick McClure has been named southern and eastern Kentucky’s PRIDE Volunteer of the Month.
Until his retirement in November, McClure was the JROTC Senior Instructor and French teacher at Corbin High School.
“Rick has been active in the annual cleanup for 17 years,” said Amy Allen, outdoor recreation planner for the US Forest Service, which leads the team of agencies and concerned citizens who organize the cleanup each year. She nominated McClure for the PRIDE award.
McClure led JROTC students to volunteer at the Laurel Lake Cleanup every year. He also promoted the event and solicited donations of items to be used as door prizes for volunteers.
“While I was a teacher at Corbin High School for 17.5 years, I tried to help students take pride in their community and see the need for community service,” said McClure. “I’ve had wonderful kids over the years, who have worked hard.”
“The Lord has given us a very beautiful area, and we’ve messed some of it up,” McClure explained. “The least we can do is get out there and clean areas like Cumberland Falls and Laurel Lake. We can make the area as pristine as it was before we got here.”
“Perhaps the most important contribution Rick has made is instilling the principles of hard work and environmental stewardship in all of these young folks over the years,” Allen said. “Throughout his tenure with the JROTC program, he spent countless hours mentoring and teaching students in after-school and extracurricular settings. Rick has given personally to the community and the students, and as a result, he influenced many young people to also ‘give back’ to their communities.”
“His students work hard at cleanups, but they also have fun, so he helped create positive experiences that could lead to lifetimes of community service,” said Mark Davis of PRIDE, the nonprofit organization that promotes environmental cleanup and education in the region. PRIDE also is an organizer of the Laurel Lake Cleanup.
“This year, the Laurel Lake Cleanup netted two tons of garbage in just three hours, and Lt. Col. McClure and his students played a big role in that achievement,” Davis said.
“In addition to the many hours he devoted to Laurel Lake, he also has been a driving force in the PRIDE Spring Cleanup Kick Off at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park since we started that annual cleanup event five years ago,” Davis added. “We appreciate him and his students for their support there, too. This year, they cleaned below the falls and picked up 320 bags of trash and 10 tires.”
The PRIDE Volunteer of the Month program recognizes hard work and dedication to the PRIDE initiative, which promotes environmental education and cleanup efforts in 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. With corporate sponsorship from TECO Coal, WYMT-TV airs commercials about each PRIDE Volunteer of the Month.
“Volunteers are the backbone of PRIDE,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, who co-founded PRIDE. “We wouldn’t be where we are without our volunteers. More than 380,000 volunteers have helped with PRIDE cleanup and education projects. We want to thank TECO Coal for helping PRIDE give these generous people the recognition they deserve.”
“Please tell us about PRIDE volunteers who impressed you, so we can thank them,” Davis said. “You can call us, toll free, at 888-577-4339, or go online to submit a nomination for the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award.”