A rainy day was no match for motivated volunteers who collected more than 175 enormous bags of trash, 11 tires, and even one shabby television set during a cleanup effort at Yatesville Lake and State Park in Louisa, Ky., on March 29, 2014.
For Samantha Richards, a junior at Lawrence County High School and volunteer with the Friends of Yatesville Lake and State Park, picking up trash at Yatesville Lake and the surrounding recreation areas is a matter of pride.
"This place is my home outdoors. My family and I go on the lake; we hike, picnic, and stay in the cabins. I am proud of this place," she said. "People have some bad stereotypes about this county, and I want to prove them wrong. We’re not a bunch of people who don’t really care about keeping the environment beautiful and clean."
The Yatesville Dam was constructed to provide flood risk management. It covers 2,300 acres, has three islands, and averages 40-feet in depth.
Samantha’s father, Bill Richards, is the president of the Friends of the Yatesville Lake and State Park as well as a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) instructor at Lawrence County High School. Bill retired from the U.S. Army in 2010.
Since the mission of JROTC is to motivate young people through caring leadership and positive influence to be better citizens for life-long service to the community, Richards encouraged his JROTC students to participate in the cleanup and many did.
Despite the downpour, the teens got to work. Adults as old as 65 and children as young as three also collected garbage from the lake, park, roadside and picnic shelter areas.
For wife and husband Judy and Danny Kruger, keeping Yatesville beautiful is a priority. "We’ve volunteered at lots of other parks, but we have a special place in our hearts for Yatesville," she said.
The Krugers grew up near Yatesville and despite their volunteer work throughout the United States and in Judy’s case, South America; too, the couple keep coming back to Yatesville year after year.
"The team at Yatesville is family to us. They really are like our children and we love them," said Judy, who retired from a local petroleum corporation.
The fondness is mutual according to Maria Dawn Haynes, the lake project assistant at Yatesville.
"We’re a small team here and we rely on the support of our wonderful volunteers like Judy and Danny to help keep Yatesville the beautiful resource that it is for the community," Haynes said.
The cleanup ended with a barbecue and raffle sponsored by the Friends of Yatesville Lake and State Park.