By LEAH TATE
NEW ALBANY —
An initiative determined to clean the streets of New Albany and rid curbsides of environmental waste held its annual meeting on Sunday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s Carriage House.
Members of Trash Force, Inc., met to recognize the organization’s achievements and plan for future initiatives. The event also featured a social hour and dinner program with a jazz performance by the Jamey Aebersold Quartet, followed by a brief meeting to elect new officers for the 2013-14 Trash Force team.
Trash Force is a nonprofit organization created in 1989 by a group of local environmentalists that saw a need to offer a recycling program after a survey was conducted that showed residents would be interested in recycling if there was a drop-off location. Trash Force became the community’s sole resource for toting recyclable trash to the recycling center.
During Sunday’s meeting, members reflected on Saturdays at Sam Peden Community Park when residents would line the streets with their recyclables as they waited for Trash Force to load their items into trucks destined for the recycling center.
Trash Force founding members, Brigitte Cooper and Carol Findling, said they remembered residents packing the park with plastics, paper and glass.
“I remember us having to physically jump on the trash to compact it in the trucks so we could fit everything,” Cooper said as she shared a laugh with Findling.
For Findling, Trash Force was a way for her to help the community she loves.
“As an environmentalist at heart, my involvement in the organization was a way for me to express my environmental passion,” she said.
Since the city has implemented a recycling program, Trash Force has transitioned into a recycling resource for the community by promoting responsible environmental practices through education. Organization members educate the public through school programs and sponsor events like Earth Day at the Falls of the Ohio and the Mother Earth Celebration in New Albany.
Musician and environmental advocate Jamey Aebersold, who is also a Trash Force member, was surprised during Sunday’s dinner with an award for his environmental endeavors and anti-smoking education. The award was handed to him by New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan.
“Aebersold is an accomplished musician and a highly respected educator,” Gahan said. “His altruistic attitude and actions reflect favorably on himself, his family, the community and beyond and therefore [we] proclaimed Sept. 22 as ‘Jamey Aebersold Day.’”
Along with the recognition, Aebersold received appreciation letters from various community representatives whom Aebersold has had an impact on, such as donations to the Indiana University Southeast Culture Center for scholarships and covering the expense of admission for Earth Day attendees at the Falls of the Ohio.
Don Sodrel was elected Trash Force’s president during the meeting, succeeding former president Warren Nash.
Sodrel said his involvement with Trash Force stems from giving back to the community after he retired from the Navy.
“I believe it’s an individual’s obligation to give back to the community,” Sodrel said.
Trash Force’s meeting also featured an anti-smoking program by Aebersold, followed by a business meeting and Harvest Homecoming booth planning. For more information about Trash Force, visit trashforce.org.