Sweep the Hooch is more than improving the water quality of the Chattahoochee River. This annual event is also about community and stewardship. Thanks to Friends volunteers at Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Sweetwater Creek State Park, and Don Carter State Park, Friends and site staff were able to take an active role in making a difference.
Friends of Chattahoochee Bend made Sweep the Hooch a day to remember. Forty volunteers “reported for duty” on Saturday, April 12 to clean the river. Some piled into the 18 watercrafts provided by the park, while others focused on the riverbank. Over 200 pounds of trash was collected and 3.5 miles of river was cleaned.
The day did not come without challenges. Two tandem boats overturned but thanks to the swift efforts of site manager, Tim Banks, he was able to put his water rescue training to good use and everyone stayed safe.
However, the incredible efforts of these tireless workers extend to more than a single day. Many volunteers also joined the park on Thursday and Friday to clean the mud left by the recent flood while others work throughout the year to help care for the river.
One such dedicated volunteer is Tony Burroughs. Tony regularly volunteers at Chattahoochee Bend State Park, assisting with the need of his favorite park. Whether he’s focusing on river cleanup, working on a trail that he adopted, or helping with programs, Tony is an inspiration to those around him.
Recently, Tony was diagnosed with cancer and has been going through extensive chemotherapy treatments making him weak and unable to maintain his past level of rigor and valor. For Tony, this recent challenge was met with determination. While Chattahoochee Bend was undergoing preparations for the annual Sweep the Hooch, at home, Tony made his own plans. He recruited his siblings, and on April 12, Tony came to the park with his family and, together, they all volunteered. His firm resolve and great love for the park is absolutely contagious. He is a wonderful example of what it means to be a Friend. It’s not always about getting the most accomplished; being a Friends member is about heart. Tony has a great love for Chattahoochee Bend State Park, he is a model steward of the park, and he shares this with those around him.
A huge “thank you!” to Tony, Friends of Chattahoochee Bend, and park staff for all of your dedicated efforts in making the park, and the river, a clean, safe environment for generations to come.