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Heading the call to help out
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Though Carol Veliotis' day job might be "artist," it would be hard to argue against also calling her a full time volunteer.

Since she was a young girl, Veliotis has participated in volunteer work. She said volunteering was something her mother instilled in her.

The Green Getaway is presently the biggest volunteer project on Veliotis' plate. The event, which will be held Friday at the Charlie Elliot Wildlife Conference Center in Mansfield, is this year's Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful Annual Fundraiser for environmental education.

Veliotis is on the board of directors for Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful and is also the group's chair of recycling.

"I've been caring about the environment and recycling for 40-years," Veliotis said.

Dubbed the "Queen of Recycling" by friends, Veliotis practices what she preaches, even incorporating recycling into her art. Her role with Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful allows her to combine her passion for recycling and volunteer work.

"We try to encourage people and corporations to care more about the environment and to recycle more," Veliotis said. "There are tremendous possibilities for companies to recycle. In other countries, everybody recycles and it needs to be something that's taught here in this county."

 Veliotis admits it can be an uphill battle, but she is confident she and people like her can win the war.

"It's getting there through the schools and the puppet shows," Veliotis said. "The money that we make on the Green Getaway is actually for education to help get the message out and provide for the puppet show that is preformed at all the schools in Newton County. It is also used for beautification of the town."

She is encouraging everyone to attend the event, which costs $50 per ticket, $37.50 of which is tax deductible. The event will feature live music, fine dining catered by Plain Nuts and several auctions. Veliotis has donated several items to the auctions including some found art salt and peppershakers and two hours of in home decoration work for the highest bidder.

Along with her work with Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful, Veliotis also volunteers for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. She participates in lay reading, planting flowers, working at the bookstore and helped to clean up a homeless shelter. As a devote woman, Veliotis begins and ends everyday with prayer. She believes volunteer work is the work of God.

"You get that sense of helping others," Veliotis said. "And you are helping yourself that way, too. It's just something we are obliged to do. That's what the Bible says."

She also lives by a practical and religious creed: "Trust God, clean house, help others."

Veliotis is also the vice-president and head of special projects for the Garden Club of Covington. In the past she has renovated the Ficquett Elementary School garden panted a Memorial Arboretum in Academy Springs Park For the Garden Club, she is currently working on the Flower Memories project.

"We have hundreds of beautiful photos of flowers and we have made these scrap books that we're presenting to three nursing homes," Veliotis said. "Since they don't have garden's of their own, they can look at these pictures and have happy memories. It's going to be gorgeous. It has taken a long time to get the albums to get the name plates, to get all the pictures."

Veliotis also volunteers a lot of her time to the Southern Heartland Gallery. She recently designed the gallery's square crow in the fashion of Marilyn Monroe. After her work for the Green Getaway is complete, she will begin to focus her attention to the gallery's Monte Carlo for the Arts, a fundraiser to be held Feb. 9. Veliotis will be donating a Greek lamb roast that will feed 25 to 30 people for auction.

"That means I'll dig a pit in my back yard and roast a whole lamb and have all the trimmings for people to bid on, so that thing should go for thousands of dollars," Veliotis said.

It's hard to believe that Veliotis, who just tuned 60, considers her volunteer work a light load.