2021 Community Awards

Keep the Midlands Beautiful would like to thank the following individuals, organizations and businesses for their support and contributions.  Their outstanding efforts to keep OUR Midlands Beautiful is very much appreciated.


Lexington County Adopt-A-Highway Award

  • PTL Allen Sharpe, Group Leader for the Town of South Congaree
  • The 2021 Lexington County Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) Group of the Year goes to The Town of South Congaree’s Group Leader, Patrol Officer (PTL.) Allen Sharpe with the South Congaree Police Department.  This group has been picking up thousands of pounds of litter from Hwy 302 from Old Dunbar rd. to Pine St. in the Town of South Congaree for a little over a year now.  Prior to his current role, PTL Sharpe took the initiative to involve another Lexington County town to become a part of the Adopt-A-Highway program.  The Town of Springdale AAH group was started under PTL Sharpe’s leadership and continues to this day.  PTL Sharpe is always advocating for other organizations including area schools and churches to join KMB’s number one litter prevention program in the Midlands.


Richland County Adopt-A-Highway Award

  • Cynthia Byrd, Group Leader for Remembering Brandon Lavar Byrd
  • The 2021 Richland County Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) Group of the Year goes to Remembering Brandon Lavar Byrd.  Brandon Lavar would have turned 35 years old in March, 2022 had he not died in a tragic car accident when he was just 20 years old.  His mother, AAH Group Leader Ms. Cynthia Byrd, keeps her son’s memory alive in many different ways, including through the AAH program.  She and her team of dedicated family members have been picking up litter on Lake Murray Blvd. from Kinley Road to Broad River Rd. for over 12 years.  For the past two years, Ms. Byrd has enthusiastically collected shoes for KMB’s annual shoe drive in memory of Brandon.


City of Columbia Adopt-A-Street Award

  • Pam Johnston, Group Leader for Dennis Corporation
  • The 2021 Adopt-A-Street (AAS) Group of the Year goes to the Dennis Corporation.  This group has been with the AAS program since 2007, providing 15 years of valuable service to the community.  In 2021, they were one of a few groups who completed all four litter pickups.  The group, under Pam Johnson’s leadership, consistently has eight people removing litter from Huger St. from Laurel St. to Gervais St. in the City of Columbia. In 2021, a total of 740 pounds of litter was removed from city streets by this dedicated team.


Adopt-A-Waterway Award

  • Julie Lott, Group Leader for Forest Lake Presbyterian
  • The 2021 Adopt-A-Waterway (AAW) Group of the Year goes to Forest Lake Presbyterian Church for adopting Gills Creek behind Forest Lake Shopping Center.  This group is KMB’s oldest AAW group; it has been active for over nine years and is currently under the leadership of Ms. Julie Lott.  Over the years, hundreds of pounds of litter have been removed from this section of Gills Creek.  KMB is also pleased that the church has supported the KMB annual shoe drive for many years, donating thousands of pairs of shoes over time.


Green Outstanding Educator Award

  • Sarah Guffey, Leaphart Elementary
  • Leaphart Elementary School is a Green Steps School and as part of their Conserve, Reuse project they chose to participate in KMB’s 2021 Shoe Drive.  Ms. Guffey’s 1st grade classroom students took the lead for this project and sorted, banded, and bagged 250 pairs of shoes.  Students made posters and displayed them in their hallway to promote the program and educate other students about the impact on other people around the world.  Ms. Guffey starred in an interview about the shoe drive on Dawndy Mercer Plank’s WIS-TV Talk’in Trash Tuesday segment with KMB’s Core Program’s Administrator too.


Green Small Business Award

  • AquaFun Boat Rental, Tours and Watersports
  • KMB’s 2021 Lakeside Litter Sweep event was held on Saturday, September 18th from 8:30 am to 12 pm.  The event was a huge success in part thanks to the passion and leadership of the father/son owners of AquaFun.  Ken’s love for Lake Murray is evident in that he has been cleaning up islands on his own for years. Both Ken’s were instrumental in securing boat transportation to take volunteers to islands on both the Lexington and Irmo sides of the lake.  Not only did AquaFun donate a pontoon boat to transport passengers, he designated one as a trash barge to haul back a boat load of trash bags.  He also worked with his competitors to donate their boats and captains to shuttle people to and from check-in points.  Ken senior also convinced a private yacht owner to participate so dozens of volunteers cruised in style to the larger islands to pick up trash.  The elder Ken solicited hundreds of dollars in donations of gift certificates from business around Lake Murray for event prizes.  AquaFun even adopted Spence Island to permanently maintain through KMB’s Adopt-A-Waterway program.


Green Large Business Award

  • J. Peters (Rusty Anchor & Catfish Johnny's parent company)
  • KMB’s 2021 Lakeside Litter Sweep owes its success to many but Tony stands out as being one of the key sponsors.  He immediately stepped in with enthusiasm and commitment to make the day fun and productive for everyone involved. The event’s 242 volunteers and support personnel worked up an appetite after removing of 5,758 pounds of litter from Lake Murray’s shores and below the surface of over 27 islands and 10 boat landings, parks, and neighborhoods. Tony Rametta personally prepared and packaged sandwiches, chips, and cookies for hungry volunteers at three separate check-in locations.  Tony also secured banners to advertise the event at 4 area marinas and restaurants, and donated a gift certificate to the restaurant.  This restaurant manager also made a long-term commitment to reduce litter by adopting Susie Ebert Island.


Beautification Award

  • Rev. Jackie Smalls, Neriah Community Development Corporation
  • The Neriah Community Development Corporation partnered with Keep the Midlands Beautiful, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the City of Columbia Department of Forestry and Beautification, Miracles in the Midlands, and Dr. Tameria Warren on a 2021 beautification grant provided by Bank of America and the Arbor Day Foundation.  Rev. Smalls coordinated grant activities, provided classroom space for Environmental Justice lessons, housed all 50 trees, and supervised the planting of 40 trees by students.  His positive attitude, attention to detail, and his willingness to step up to help when project plans changed were instrumental to the successful completion of the project.


Green Government Partner

  • West Columbia - Mayor Tem Miles and Jamie Hook, Director of Public Works
  • The City of West Columbia, with the West Columbia Beautification Foundation, the Cayce-West Columbia Jaycees, Keep the Midlands Beautiful, and PalmettoPride, hosted a city-wide litter pick-up day on Saturday, April 17, 2021, from 9 AM – 12 PM.  Mayor Tem Miles said, “I encourage everyone to come out and participate and help clean up the west side to keep it the best side.”  The event was very well attended and had a huge impact on the community; a total of 270 volunteers removed a total of 3,515 pounds of litter from streets across the city in a three-hour time span.  Volunteers were treated to a cookout lunch afterwards.


Green Non-Profit Partner

  • Sharing God's Love
  • Sharing God’s Love is Christian Ministry organized in 1984 to provide food, clothing, and financial assistance to those families in need.  The non-profit accepts donations from the community, and at times the generosity of its citizens in the Irmo area exceeds their capacity to store and distribute clothes and shoes.  SGL has graciously donated their extra shoes over the past 3 years to KMB’s shoe drive.  In 2020, SGL delivered 250 pair of shoes to KMB’s office and in 2021 they became an official host site. Last year, SGL contributed 1500 pairs, the largest number given by any single host site thereby helping KMB to collect a record number of 6225 pairs of shoes.  To date, SGL has sorted, banded, and bagged 975 pairs of shoes with one month remaining in the 2022 drive.