These are the goodwilled people of deep passion whose kindness will truly make a difference in the lives of others. Over the next month, our newspaper undoubtedly will publish many accounts of people reaching out to help other people.
We are reminded by these throngs of difference makers of others who stepped up Oct. 27 as part of Make a Difference Day, an annual observance set aside to encourage all to complete projects of their own — large or small — that will make life a little better for someone, or some group, with a need.
To no one’s surprise, Cleveland and Bradley County residents again embraced the cause and set out — for lack of a better phrase — to do good. In some cases, individuals helped individuals. In others, groups aided families. And in still others, organizations came to the aid of their community.
One such endeavor was the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. By chance, the year’s second HHWCD event fell on Make a Difference Day. Its timing was impeccable. What better opportunity, and in what finer fashion, could a Cleveland and Bradley County household impact the community?
It was a unique chance to rid storage sheds, utility rooms, basements and garages of many common household toxic wastes that should not be carelessly, and recklessly, disposed of — whether in the Bradley County Landfill, in a backyard gully or at any point in between.
All achievements by the HHWCD came in aid of the environment. If that doesn’t say “community,” then nothing does.
Our environment is our life. It is our future. It is our children’s future. It is their children’s future.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis and county government leaders are to be commended for covering the $38,000 cost for the recent HHWCD event. This is the first time it has been offered to the community twice in one year.
As primary sponsors for HHWCD, Bradley County government and Santek Waste Services are serving as role models for other communities that may wish to pursue similar initiatives in protection of their own families and their futures.
Locally, HHWCD is fortunate to have willing partners whose roles are integral to the program’s continued success.
We speak of Cleveland Utilities which allows the distribution of HHWCD pamphlets in its monthly billing statements to promote awareness of the program and to encourage public participation.
We speak of Cleveland/Bradley Keep America Beautiful which provides on-site volunteers whose jobs also include careful record keeping and logistics that keep the line of traffic flowing consistently.
We speak of Tri-State Exhibition Center which provides a centralized collection point, and plenty of space, for the collection of these household materials.
And as mentioned, we speak of both Santek and the county mayor’s office who consistently partner to make this event available. Some might scoff at going to such measures to assure the proper disposal of such household toxic wastes. These are the uninformed.
Pollution is real.
Our environment — whether the air that we breathe, the water we drink or the ground on which we tread — is our lifeline. Without them, our future is bleak at best and a lost cause at worst.
Protecting our planet may sound overwhelming to the individual who understandably might ask, “What can just one community do?”
It’s a fair question and here’s the answer.
For every success story, a first step must be taken. It must start somewhere. As other communities observe the impact, they too will launch their own initiatives. Others will see and they will join the cause. Like a snowball, the commitment will grow.
Bradley County is as good a place to start as any.
We applaud those who believe in doing the right thing through the HHWCD.
We urge others to hop aboard the train. It is moving slowly, but its momentum is building.