Environmental Leaders Receive KPB State Awards

(The Daily Courier) Two environmental champions were honored during the Fayette County Commissioners’ monthly meeting today.

Fayette County Recycling Coordinator/Stormwater Manager Sheila Shea and former Wharton Township Supervisor Jim Means received awards from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB). A statewide environmental organization, KPB previously tapped Shea to spearhead their local affiliate, Keep Fayette County Green.

Means, who retired in December after serving as supervisor for 30 years, was nominated by Shea to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award.

For the last 27 years, Means has led a monthly recycling collection and annual hard-to-recycle event in his township, making recycling more accessible to mountain area communities. He also launched a recycling program at the Mountain Area Senior Center, in partnership with Keep Fayette County Green, in 2023.

“Jim has a dedication and passion for recycling,” Shea said in her nomination. “Jim’s leadership style fosters a collaborative and supportive environment, encouraging others to go above and beyond. His dedication and enthusiasm are contagious, and it’s not uncommon to see others rally behind his recycling initiatives.”

“I think recycling is a great program that’s come a long way. Up here in Wharton Township, we’re one of the highest collectors in the state every year, and we hope to continue those efforts and keep growing. If a person recycles right, very little goes to the landfill, and we’ve saved an awful lot of stuff from going to the landfill,” Means said. “Sheila does a wonderful job, and I’ve worked quite well with her. I hope to continue our partnership for many years, especially with the hard-to-recycle program. You don’t find televisions and tires sitting along the roads like you used to, so it’s nice that our citizens can recycle locally.”

After giving Means his award, state Sen. Pat Stefano surprised Shea with the KPB Community Pride Award, which recognizes those who exhibit outstanding environmental stewardship and commitment to litter control, recycling or community beautification.

“Wow. I’m honored to receive the Community Pride Award from Senator Stefano and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to them for giving me this generous award,” Shea said. “Working with all of you is such a privilege, and I’m excited to see what we’ll accomplish in the future. Thank you to the whole team who works with me to help make our recycling program so successful. It’s truly an honor to be recognized for my work.”

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Read about the other 2023 KPB Affiliate Volunteers of the Year awardees!

Learn more about the KPB Community Pride Award