Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award Winners

Nancy Troxler
March 3, 2016

2016 Nancy Troxler photoNancy Troxler is one of those rare volunteers that staff members of the Watershed Coalition don’t hesitate to call when there is anything in need of doing. She rarely misses a workday, board meeting or outing and she readily makes food and helps with education events and fundraisers. She even loans us her kayak when we need an extra boat! Ever since Nancy and her husband participated in a stream restoration project on their land along Little Brasstown Creek, Nancy has been an active supporter of clean water locally. But Nancy’s commitment to the environment and volunteerism began long before that. She has also dedicated hundreds of hours to other organizations locally including Girl Scouts and the John C. Campbell Folk School during her more than 30 years of living in Brasstown. Read more…

Tom Bennett
March 27, 2015

Tom BennettTom Bennett is a retired newspaperman of more than 30 years who since taking up full-time residency in the Martins Creek community where his wife Lorraine grew up, has written extensively about a variety of land use and public policy issues related to water quality and watershed health. His work, both for the WATR Column on the coalition’s web site and “The Far Blue Mountains”bi-monthly column in The Cherokee Scout have helped raise awareness about threats to water quality. In addition to his valuable writing, Tom is the consummate member and volunteer – the one you can always count on to pay his dues before the reminder or show up early with the pickup truck, loan tools, and work as hard as he is physically able with a positive outlook. There is also quite a bit less litter in Hiwassee Lake, thanks to Tom Bennett, as he is a dedicated supporter of Cherokee County’s annual litter sweep on the lake. Read more…

David Wood
February 21, 2014

David WoodAn avid fisherman and outdoorsman, David Wood has been a lifelong advocate for good water quality in the upper Hiwassee River watershed. Over the years, David has written many letters to the editor about environmental issues in general, and specifically about water quality concerns. Since being elected county commissioner in 2010, David has been a leader on environmental issues. Some accomplishments include leading an effort to get the open dumpsters off of Hiwassee Lake, working with the Cherokee County Tourism Development Authority to elevate our rivers, lakes & streams to positions of economically valuable resources, and engaging the county commissioners to pass a resolution of support for the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Often his leadership wasn’t so much about accomplishments as it was about raising awareness and remaining doggedly dedicated to water quality and the Coalition’s mission in the face of political controversy. Read more…

Nathan Hughes and the YHC Bonner Leaders Program
March 13, 2013

Nathan HughesBonner Leaders are a select group of students who represent Young Harris College through outreach work, through building relationships, and through shared experiences in learning and leadership at non-profit agencies throughout the community. Bonners work at their community partner sites approximately 8-10 hours per week during the academic year. From 2010-2013, HRWC had the privilege of working with nine Bonner Leaders who helped remove and control invasive plants, plant native riparian buffers, coordinate volunteers, put together educational materials, and much more. Nathan Hughes was one of the first Bonner Leaders to select the Coalition as one of his work sites and was with us throughout his years of school at YHC. In 2012 Nathan went above and beyond the call of duty to raise awareness about the Coalition and water quality concerns with other students on campus and encouraged several more students to choose us as their Bonner work site. Read more…

Lucy Cole Gratton
March 24, 2012

Lucy Cole GrattonLucy Cole Gratton is a lifetime member of the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition and a founding member of the Yun wi’ Gunahi’ta Society. She has been actively involved with the organization since 2000. Lucy served as the Coalition’s first executive director from 2001-2003. When Callie Moore was hired as a full-time executive director, Lucy was contracted to manage the Coalition’s finances. From purchasing the organization’s first filing cabinet to preparing reimbursement paperwork for millions in grant funds, Lucy was at the center of what made the Coalition’s operations run smoothly for the past decade. Although Lucy is more retired now, she is always there for HRWC. She still volunteers countless hours (actually they can be counted – 741 hours in 2011 worth more than $13,300!) and will set her mind to solving any problem we throw at her. She has recruited many members, written letters to the editor, donated items, and even worked to influence land use practices of her neighbors in the Camp Creek watershed. Everywhere one looks in the office, there is evidence of Lucy – right down to the ceramic sunflower tissue box cover in the women’s bathroom. There is not a soul who knows her that wouldn’t testify to her unwavering commitment to water quality, the environment, and the Coalition. Read more…

Silas Allen
March 4, 2011

Silas AllenSilas Allen was chief of enforcement for the N.C. Building Code and watershed and flood-damage prevention ordinances in Cherokee County, N.C. from 1995 until his retirement in 2011. For 13 years, he led “Big Sweep” cleanups of the shorelines of Apalachia and Hiwassee lakes. Allen and wife Bobbie live on land that has been owned by his family for more than four generations and he has been involved with HRWC since shortly after the organization’s incorporation in 1995. When asked why he’s so dedicated to his career with the county and has volunteered so many hours beyond the call of duty, Allen said, “I care about water quality deeply. It saddens me to see the streams and lakes fill up with silt and trash.” Read more…

Lamar Paris
March 12, 2010

Lamar ParisIn 2010, Lamar Paris was serving his third term as Sole Commissioner of Union County, Ga. Union County has the only locally managed sediment and erosion control program in the upper Hiwassee River watershed. Under Paris’ leadership, the county cross-trained building inspectors and sediment/erosion control personnel to save time associated with addressing sedimentation complaints. And inspectors use a technologically advanced system whereby field notes are downloaded automatically into the computer back at the office. Paris is also a 2008 graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, an intensive series of nearly weeklong workshops held in different parts of the state over the course of one year. “We see very few severe violations of water quality in Union County compared to the other counties in the watershed,” said Callie Moore, executive director of HRWC. Read more…

James W. Dobson
January 17, 2009

holman_thumbnail_dobsonFormer Union County, Ga. resident, the late Jim Dobson retired from a distinguished career in agriculture research and administration, serving for more than 35 years as superintendent of the University of Georgia, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences’ Mountain Experiment Station near Blairsville, GA. Jim served as Chairman of the Blue Ridge Mountain Soil & Water Conservation District for many years and was a founding board member of HRWC. Jim was active with these and many other community organizations until his death in May 2010. Lamar Paris introduced Jim at the 2009 banquet, saying “Many take a hike away from the public when they retire and look after their own well-being. But Jim has dedicated his retirement to making (the Hiwassee River watershed) a better place to live.” Read more…