Ridgeland Earns Awards from Keep Mississippi Beautiful

Ridgeland brought home three awards from the Keep Mississippi Beautiful Twenty-Fourth Annual Awards Luncheon held on April 6, 2017. Mayor Gene McGee earned Mayor of the Year. Keep Ridgeland Beautiful Chairman Jan Richardson earned the Pat Fordice Award. Ridgeland High School earned an Honorable Mention for Recycle Bowl. From left to right: City of Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee, Keep Mississippi Beautiful Executive Director Sarah Kountouris, Pat Fordice Award Winner Jan Richardson, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful Member and Ridgeland High School Recycle Bowl Coordinator Rachel Collier.

City of Ridgeland officials and Keep Ridgeland Beautiful officers announce awards earned at the Keep Mississippi Beautiful Annual Awards Luncheon held April 6, 2017. Three awards were taken home by Ridgeland at this event that recognizes organizations and individuals from around the state of Mississippi for efforts in promoting the mission of Keep Mississippi Beautiful, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing litter and promoting recycling and community greening. Awards were presented to Ridgeland High School, Jan Richardson, and Mayor Gene McGee.

Ridgeland High School Recycle Bowl was presented an Honorable Mention Award in recognition of outstanding volunteer service in our community and the state of Mississippi. Recycle Bowl, a student-run recycling collection program, collected 15,054 pounds of recyclable paper over four weeks in the fall of 2016. Keep Ridgeland Beautiful provided education to students and support to the sponsor teachers, Ginger Joe and Kathy Evans. The City of Ridgeland partnered with Waste Management, Inc. to provide recycle bins. Recycling is continuing at the school with support from Keep Ridgeland Beautiful, the City of Ridgeland, and Waste Management.

Mayor of the Year award went to Mayor Gene McGee of the City of Ridgeland. Mayor McGee was honored as the mayor in Mississippi who best helps to promote Keep Mississippi Beautiful’s mission. Sarah Kountouris, executive director of Keep Mississippi Beautiful remarked about his serving as a role model to other mayors with his efforts in city beautification, recycling, litter prevention and reduction, and improving the quality of life of residents. Keep Mississippi Beautiful award judges selected him from among all mayoral candidates for his leadership that keeps the city’s parks, streets and public spaces clean and attractive, his promotion of recycling, tree protection and tobacco-free public spaces, and his environmental stewardship and encouragement of green spaces.

The Pat Fordice Award honors a leader of beautification, recycling and litter cleanup in Mississippi, given in honor of the former Mississippi first lady who was a dedicated supporter of Keep Mississippi Beautiful. Jan Richardson, founding member of Keep Ridgeland Beautiful and its first chairman, was given this honor. Her guidance led Keep Ridgeland Beautiful to earn the prestigious William Nash award from Keep America Beautiful in its first year. She has been instrumental in establishing a Wildflower Trails of Mississippi project in Ridgeland, working with local students on recycling and greening projects, maintaining a shoe recycling program that provides funds to the organization, transforming Midway Park during the Great American Cleanup, and promoting the mission at numerous public events.

“I am humbled by the award of Mayor of the Year, and I deeply appreciate Keep Mississippi Beautiful selecting me for this honor,” said Mayor Gene McGee. “I also want to express my appreciation and congratulations to Jan Richardson, Pat Fordice Award winner, and to Ridgeland High School for their honorable mention. Jan Richardson is a role model of an involved citizen who wants to make her community the best that it can be. I’m proud of the students, teachers, and Keep Ridgeland Beautiful members who helped to make the Recycle Bowl a success. I want to encourage them to keep it going in the coming years, and I want to encourage all Ridgeland citizens to get involved in keeping Ridgeland beautiful in any and every way that they can.”