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4-H'ers continue recycling, earn state award
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That's right-in under five years, with your help, we have recycled 10,000 books back into our own community.

You uncluttered shelves and emptied out storage areas without contributing to the landfill and increased literacy at the same time.

Some were passed out at the Christmas parade. Others found new homes through programs by The Learning Center, making their way to shelves in hospital waiting rooms, at local day care centers, or in classrooms where children needed extra help.

Those books so well loved they were falling apart were even up-cycled into new life as lap books through other service projects.

Many other books are being sold at the library book sale to support our local library.

It is just one of the many recycling projects initiated by 4-H'ers which contributed to Newton County 4-H being honored by Keep Georgia Beautiful on Friday.

This weekend, a busload of middle school 4-H'ers are at Rock Eagle delivering several hundred pounds of pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House of Savannah.

4-H'ers also coordinate recycling and sorting at Relay for Life each year, contributing any funds raised back to Relay.

They recycled printer cartridges for the Special Olympics in honor of a 4-H'er who rides on the equestrian team.

Each project was tallied up on the award application by 4-H volunteer leader Leslie Lathem and Keep Covington Newton Beautiful Executive Director Laurie Riley.

Newton County 4-H won runner up in the waste reduction by a youth or school group category, and was honored by the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation at their annual luncheon.

It was a really big day for Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful, as they also had two first place winners out of only 17 honorees statewide.

James Peters, Newton County solid waste director, was honored as public works employee of the year.

The award nomination said he took the landfill from "underperforming to award winning in two and half years" by doubling recycling revenue, mentoring workers, and making a personal commitment to his goals, all while maintaining a great sense of humor.

Lee Aldridge was honored as woman of the year with the Carolyn Crayton Award.

Her nomination said she was "the best kind of volunteer," and one who "dedicates her entire life to others," but that wasn't news to me.

If you went to Newton High, chances are you know "Ms. A."

She taught biology for 37 years, but I knew her best as my 4-H sponsor.

A 4-H sponsor who not only provided a place for our club to meet, but also encouraged each of us to work harder and achieve more both in school and in the community.

As an adult I continue to find out just how much she contributes to our community.

I ran into her one day at Newton General, where she was volunteering with the auxiliary.

Then I joined the board of The Learning Center, and she brought me the polo she'd worn as a board member before me.

She drops in our office regularly on her way to board meetings for Keep Covington Newton Beautiful.

And that's not even including all the work I know she does to help support her husband and all those Eagle Scouts he mentors.

Oh, and top all that off with the long list of community beautification and education activities they read off as part of her award this week.

I'm pretty sure Ms. A is related to superwoman.

I was proud to be with two superwomen on Friday.

From my first day on the job, I quickly realized 4-H volunteer Leslie Lathem was the one to ask for help.

She not only supports her own children's 4-H activities, but also regularly gives us ideas for new projects and personally coaches other 4-H'ers.

Through her work as a veterinarian and all her volunteer work, she seems to have connections everywhere.

My phone at work only has three speed dials-but one is Leslie.

So thank you to Keep Covington Newton Beautiful for the nomination of Newton 4-H-we can't wait to keep expanding our recycling projects.

And special thanks to two of my 4-H superheroes!


Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or