BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Coastal Cleanup's most dedicated servants were honored on Friday. Thousands of volunteers have taken a stunning 800 tons of trash out of South Mississippi's waterways.
"This is a celebration of 25 years of cleaning up the coast and it's really a celebration today of the volunteers," Coastal Cleanup's State Director Lauren Thompson said.
Mississippi Coastal Cleanup volunteers like Cindi Moncreiff said it gives them great joy to be stewards of their local marine environment.
"It's fun. You get to get up early on a Saturday morning and see a bunch of smiling faces," she said. "You meet people from all walks of life who are out helping."
Thousands of people gather every year on the third Saturday in October to join forces and do good. Many hands make heavy work light as they beautify waterways in the three coastal counties and barrier islands by picking up marine debris.
"It got started really because there are some people who have a real love for the coast, you know, the environment, the marine resources," Thompson said.
Department of Marine Resources Director Jamie Miller was there applauding these protectors of our coastal home. He read a proclamation from the governor thanking these volunteers for such an important and well done job.
Miller also honored the longest serving volunteer who actually started cleaning up waterways in Hancock County in 1986, even before the Coastal Cleanup was organized.
A stunned and humbled Ellis Cuevas said, "We are all caretakers of our environment and we need to see that our area is in better shape than when we arrived."
Along with honoring volunteers was a special quilt unveiling. It commemorates the 60,000 volunteers and 1.6 million pounds of marine trash they've removed from South Mississippi waterways since the Coastal Cleanup began.
A new 40 minute film was shown as well to document the massive cleanups done by these volunteers since 1988.
"Because without their passion and their commitment this movement, which really is an environmental movement, wouldn't exist today," Thompson said.
You are invited to join in on Coastal Cleanup 2013 October 19th.