It was late in 2017 and winter was fast approaching. After experiencing a rather challenging day at work it occurred to me that I was not getting any younger. It was time to start a new chapter in my life.
Where would I start the next phase of my life? I literally took a map and drew a line from Ann Arbor, Michigan (way too cold) to Orlando, Florida (way too hot). The area that was almost exactly halfway was East Tennessee. It occurred to me that I knew little about the area, so I set about educating myself. During several trips we took exploring East Tennessee, it struck me how clean the roads were compared to Michigan. We found our new home in Elizabethton, Tennessee in May 2018.
One year later, I noticed more trash on the roads than I recalled seeing the previous year. I could not take my new home’s beauty for granted, I was going to have to work to keep it clean and beautiful. I started walking the creek and streets in the neighborhood, picking up trash as I went. During my second year, I was out picking up trash and a gentleman stopped and asked me what I was doing. I explained to him that I had picked up over one hundred bags of trash from the creek and ravines near my house. He asked if I wanted to be part of a team that was doing a lot more than just picking up trash. That man was Ed Jordan and the organization was “Keep Carter County Beautiful”.
May of 2021 will be the third year of my new life in Elizabethton, Tennessee and I could not be happier. My new home is not perfect, but the people that live here are willing to work hard to keep it beautiful. Do not misunderstand me, 300+ bags of trash and several cleanup events later, I get frustrated. The people who do not appreciate what they have and throw litter out their windows or dump 1000+ tires in the National Forest make me angry, but they exist in every community. What does not exist in every community are people who are willing to clean up after them and try to educate them. So, for now I will address the problem by being part of the solution. If you want to help keep East Tennessee beautiful, please support us and volunteer. For those that are throwing litter on our roads or illegally dumping, please stop. Your activity is illegal and destructive.