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The original item was published from 5/17/2016 2:12:45 PM to 7/31/2016 12:05:05 AM.

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Posted on: May 17, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Keep Murphy Beautiful nominees win state recognition

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May 17, 2016

Keep Murphy Beautiful nominees recognized by state

MURPHY (May 17, 2016) Two of the three nominees submitted by the Keep Murphy Beautiful organization for recognition by the Keep Texas Beautiful association have won first place, and the third has won second place in the group’s annual awards program, says Candy McQuiston, chair of Keep Murphy Beautiful and the City’s Customer Service Manager.

“We are pleased beyond words about the three winners,” she said. “To have two first place winners and one second place winner is an honor for us as a City, as well as a personal achievement for the three individuals.”

Tina Pilgrim a teacher at Murphy Middle School won the Sadie Ray Graf award for middle school educators; Ashley Rodda won the Ruthe Jackson Youth Leadership Award in the Scouts category; and Isabella Haen received second place in the Ruthe Jackson Youth Leadership Award in the Youth-Individual middle school category.

“These three ladies exemplify the best of Murphy,” said McQuiston. “Their devotion and dedication was deservedly recognized by the statewide organization. More than that, though, the three have, in their own way, made a lasting contribution to the environmental and sustainability movement. We are exceedingly proud of their accomplishments.”

In addition to the statewide award, the three will be recognized at an upcoming City Council meeting.

In addition to her teaching schedule, Pilgrim is sponsor of the Murphy Middle School Environmental Club. For the last several years, members of the club have played an active role in numerous environmental and earth-friendly activities at the school and in the community.

The club is consistently represented at the various Keep Murphy Beautiful events.

The group has taken charge of recycling small electronics and peripherals at the twice-yearly Clean & Green events put on by KMB. Its members volunteer for the Texas Trash-off and the various clean-up and beautify campaigns. They have assisted with tree-planting around City facilities and have donated time to waterway clean-ups and other ecological campaigns.

They maintain a school garden and conduct regular anti-litter campaigns at the school and the surrounding area.

Pilgrim has served as an inspirational leader of the group, always leading by example and demonstrating the positive effects of good stewardship of the earth.
Meanwhile, the two student winners concentrated on repurposing articles of clothing.

Rodda approached KMB asking for assistance with her Girl Scout Gold Award project, “Blue Jeans Go Green.” The national program accepts articles of clothing made of denim that may have outlived their usefulness and coverts these into insulation for low income homes.

After assurances that she would have an active role in the project, KMB offered to assist Rodda by providing some marketing and educational assistance. Rodda, a high school junior, got to work enlisting friends, relatives and neighbors in a collection effort that was immediately embraced by the community. She set up collection centers at various high-traffic locations. With friends, she set up booths at various events and festivals and spoke about the importance of the project at every opportunity.

In a similar way, Haen poured herself fully into her project, “Soles4Souls.” This organization is a non-profit fighting poverty by collecting and distributing new and used shoes to the needy. It also creates jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities through qualified micro-enterprise programs.

An eighth grade student, Haen brought her idea to KMB and requested to participate in the various recycling and collection events. Wholeheartedly approving the request, KMB assisted her by offering space at City Hall for a collection bin, and invited her to set up collection booths at the various recycling events.

Demonstrating an ambitious and innovative inclination, she visited nursing homes, churches, gymnasiums, schools and other places where she made her pitch for used shoes. She utilized social media extensively, partnering with City officials, including appearing on the Mayor’s extensive social media site.
Not surprisingly, she met her goal of 1,000 pairs of shoes in about seven weeks, storing them in her home until they were delivered to the organization.

“The work of these three individuals in our community is a testament to the many others who roll up their sleeves and pitch-in when asked,” said McQuiston. “There is never a shortage of volunteers when we ask for assistance with these kinds of programs. Nevertheless, it’s wonderful to see others outside of Murphy take note of their accomplishments.”

Murphy is an affiliate member of the Keep Texas Beautiful organization and has been acknowledged for a variety of programs in the past.

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