Martin County Cleanup a Huge Success

INEZ, KY. – More than 200 individuals participated in the first-ever Martin County Cleanup on Saturday, June 8.  The event, presented by Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) and the Martin County Kiwanis Club, included a Community Celebration at the Roy F. Collier Community Center the same day.

Volunteers picked up 302 bags of trash throughout the county during the Cleanup.

“The outpouring of support from the people of Martin County was tremendous,” said Melissa Fannin Phelps, president of the Martin County Kiwanis Club. “We had children and adults from all across the county come together and participate in the Cleanup.  This demonstrated the unity and the desire we have to move our county forward.”

Through the generosity of the sponsors of the Cleanup and Community Celebration, SOAR announced a $10,000 contribution to Martin County In Action.  This is a group that is forming in Martin County and will host community listening and brainstorming sessions to identify opportunities to collaborate to move the county forward.  The group is formalizing a local team and their goal is to identify priority projects that can be completed within the next 12 months.

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Sponsors of the Martin County Cleanup and Community Celebration were: Chris and Morgane Stapleton’s Outlaw State of Kind Foundation, Appalachian Wireless, Food City, Pepsi, Kentucky Power, East Kentucky PRIDE, VIP Fuels, Cardinal Country Store, Inez Deposit Bank, Peoples Bank, Inez First Baptist Church, Inez Freewill Baptist Church, The Mountain Citizen, Entact, and the Roy F. Collier Community Center.

Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR, told those in attendance at the Community Celebration that the trash many picked up earlier that morning was symbolic.

“You didn’t wait for someone else to come by and pick up the trash, you came together, and you did it,” said Arnett. “While there are many resources and people standing ready and willing to help Martin County, it starts with each and every one of you and your willingness to make this county the best it can be.”

Joshua Ball, associate executive director of SOAR and a Martin County native, began the Community Celebration by asking children in the audience to share what they wanted to be.  The answered varied from a pilot, veterinarian, lawyer, and auto mechanic.

“Why are we here?” Ball asked those in attendance. “It is because every child that is here today.  We owe it to them to do everything we can to create a future in Appalachia where these children can stay here, thrive here, and make a difference here.”

For more information on Martin County In Action, contact Phelps at (606) 534-0234 or Ball at (606) 766-1160 or by email at joshua@soar-ky.org.