Blount environmental heroes honored during awards

The environment and the individuals, companies and agencies that work to protect it were the focus of an award ceremony at Maryville College June 27.

Keep Blount Beautiful and Little River Watershed teamed together for the sixth year to hand out honors and accolades during a lunch presentation in the Proffitt Dining Room.

Ernie Blankenship, longtime president of Little River Watershed Association, was master of ceremonies. “I believe recognition needs to be given to people or to those who do the right thing. It’s a sign this is the way they should do it and not be driven by laws and regulations.”

Winners of the Environmental Achievement Awards were:

Business/Corporate Award: Winner was Tomato Head restaurant. Tomato Head was recognized for their efforts to recycle and to use vegetables grown through organic means, said presenter Bob Eby. “Tomato Head deserves recognition for raising the bar for restaurants,” Eby said.

Building Re-use: Maryville Center Square was the winner. Center Square is a group of buildings, some new and some renovated, that were built by USA Super Pawn owner Jim Carter. The shopping center, which resembles an old-style city block using varying types of brick fronts, has a restaurant, a day spa, a bar and a furniture store. Several other spaces are available and ready for occupation.

Church/Non-profit: Mountain Laurel Garden Club was the winner.

Government/School: Fort Craig School of Dynamic Learning was the winner.

Individual: Kristi Falco was honored for her work with Keep Blount Beautiful.

Also honored during the ceremony was Alcoa, Inc., which received the Little River Watershed Association’s Corporate Support Award. “They support us with grants such as Streams Done Right and ongoing programs with the Foothills Land Conservancy about conservation easements,” Blankenship said.

Also honored by the organizations were Sandy Abel, Maryville College’s Bonner Scholars program, Bob Booker and the Blount Chamber of Commerce Air Quality Team and Lisa Phipps.

Receiving Bravo! awards for non-residential landscaping were Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, Eberting Orthodontics, Jackie Hill for her work in creating the Elizabeth Jackson Hill Memorial Garden, Royal Oaks and Smith Funeral and Cremation Service.

Dee Lidvall, member of Keep Blount Beautiful, said Bravo! is judged by Blount County Garden clubs “The Bravo award is our way of saying thank you to non-residential landscapes.”

“Congratulations to all our nominees and winners,” said Charlene DeSha, Keep Blount Beautiful coordinator. “You make such a difference.”

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