Thursday, March 5, 2009

Great American Cleanup Kick-Off part 1

On Tuesday my friend Karen and I traveled to Waveland Ms to be a part of the kickoff for the Great American Cleanup of 2009. This is a project funded and sponsored by Keep America Beautiful. We have both volunteered with this group before in local projects, but this was our first time to be part of a large national kickoff. As usual, I took way too many pictures, and trying to decide which ones to post is always hard! So, I will try to do a part 2 tomorrow so this post won't be so long.

Karen and I on the beach in Waveland before the opening ceremony. There were over 1,000 volunteers here...we met people from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington State just to name a few! Plus, there were many local residents out pitching in and helping too!

Some of the youngest volunteers modeling the T Shirts we all received.
Count down to the can see the National Director of the Great American Cleanup leading the countdown from the stage.

There were 5 sites in Waveland that were selected to be the focus of the cleanup. The site Karen and I picked to work at was a playground about 3 or 4 blocks from the beach.

It was close enough to walk and along the way the devastation of Katrina is still very evident in the photos I took.

On the walk to the playground, we passed the former City Hall of Waveland. They do have plans to rebuild this in the same spot. Part of the mosaic wall is about the only thing left, and a parking sign.
We assume this is what was left of a bank...just the vault is left standing.
This sign was especially meaningful for me since I well remember when Hurricane Camille hit Mississippi in August of 1969.

Finally, we made it to the Gex playground which was first built in January of 2006, a few months after Katrina. The playground did have a nice equipment, but was in great need of a cleanup and beautification.
There were big piles of debris and trash all throughout the playground. Here Karen is sitting on the ground filling up the many garbage bags of trash, etc. that we took to the dumpsters.

And here we are with the "Survivor Bunny"- a name given to a stuffed animal that was unearthed during the cleanup. Of course we don't know the story of the bunny or who it belonged to...but none of the volunteers wanted it to be thrown away! So he became a mascot of sorts for the playground project.

Please visit tomorrow for Part II of the Great American Cleanup in Waveland, MS.

Thanks for stopping by today!


Blondie's Journal said...


This was both a wonderful and sad post. I know there are many who are unaware of all the work that is still involved in the clean up of Hurricane Katrina. I applaud you and Karen and all the other volunteers who are helping in this endeavor.

Can't wait to see the rest of your photos!


Sandy Toes said...

What a wonderful post...thank you!
sandy toe

Rob Wallace said...

Hi Diane & Karen,

A HUGE thank you for being involved in the event, and for posting your wonderful thoughts and photos in the blog! The day meant a lot to all of us. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

- Gail, Rob and the folks at the KAB main office

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Thanks so much, Diane, for this post and for being a volunteer for the clean up!

Helen said...

I wish there were many, many more people like you and your friends in this world ....... thank you for sharing this.

Judi said...

Hi Diane
What a good cause your trip was about. That is so amazing to have so many people volunteer to clean up as you did. Wow. Your pictures are really something. The vault sitting on its own...comething to think about thats for sure.

I hope you have a restful weekend.
I haven't seen you visit for a long time. Do you know that I've moved to blogspot? I'd love to have you visit.


Momovthree said...

It's so amazing to see people working together like this. I'll be back for part 2!

playsdolls said...

Thanks for the great work you and your friend and all the other volunteers did for the Mississippi coast.One day it will be as beautiful as it was before Katrina.
This was a great post,can not wait to see tomorrows.

Kris said...

Thank you for posting about this and for your time volunteering. I think everyone should be more involved in our environment and helping one another.

I pat you on the back and say, "Good Job"



The Quintessential Magpie said...

Diane, this fills me with such emotion! I think what you're doing is just wonderful! I have family and friends who were affected by this storm, and seeing poor Waveland just brings it all home. Thank you for being such a good friend and neighbor to the people on the Coast.

Sending you much love...


Sheila :-)

jeanne said...

Diane, I admire you so much for the volunteer work you did for Waveland. Your personal goal to be of help is such a need. Thank you for sharing your photos too. Great work can be done, if the will to help is there.


karen said...

The blog is awesome! Thanks for putting into words and pictures our awesome experience. I wish that there was some way to portray the spirit of the coast residents that we met. The strength and spirit and faith of these residents is too awesome for words and I think that we were blessed by meeting them.

I am so proud to be affiliated with the KAB organization- It affects the lives of so many people from tiny events to large national venues. I hope that your blog will inspire more of our local residents to help with our local KAB projects in Meridian, MS.

Thanks for being such a great friend and fantastic volunteer.


Joanna said...

What a great inspiration, I am touched.

Southern Lady said...

Diane, I so admire you for your personal commitment to helping in the recovery efforts. Your story was so inspiring and uplifting and makes me want to do something to help, too.

Even though a lot has been done, there is still a long way to go to recapture the beauty of our Mississippi Gulf Coast, as it was before Katrina ... if, indeed, it can ever be the same again.

I commend you for your hard work and dedication, and appreciate you sharing your story with us.