AMORY – As the litter problem recently increased around the West Amory Community Center, calls for action appeared on social media along with pictures of scattered litter and a tipped over garbage can.
Appeals asking the offenders to return to clean up the grounds garnered comments ranging from speculation about who was responsible, how the city should pick up as it did in past and the need to install more surveillance.
According to local resident Tracy Hadley, Amory Parks and Recreation Department Community Activities Director Jamica Stallings-James was first to put out the word. She heads up weekday activities for senior citizens at the East Amory and West Amory community centers.
Hadley noticed another comment from Brenda Thompson, who commented if the litter wasn’t picked up by the time she was off work, she would pick it up.
“She wanted to make positive changes in the West Amory community by demonstrating,” Hadley said. “She not only cleaned the grounds, she cleaned the storm shelters.”
Thompson, one of James’ family members, responded to her appeal, which was framed in a comment that read “When the Sun Go Down.” The slogan has even been printed on T-shirts to bolster community support.
“She invited anyone who wanted to help her in this effort,” Hadley said. “Never once did she blame anyone. She just wanted to fix the problem! Sure enough, when she was off work, nobody had made any effort to clean up. She actually picked the paper up.”
Thompson’s activism has earned her the respect of the youth of West Amory.
“All the kids respect me. I talk to them about picking up the litter,” she said.
Mayor Brad Blalock weighed in on the subject when he read the posts.
“Amory Parks and Recreation works hard to provide facilities and programs to assist with quality of life,” he said. “Of course, we as adults realize that not everyone has respect for others or others’ property. This isn’t the only location where this has occurred. Different acts of vandalism have occurred over the years in and upon different facilities and locations citywide.”
He put out the challenge for everyone, himself included, to begin by leading by example and take pride in themselves and their community.
“Such can produce a positive reflection to not only all our citizens but outside communities as well,” he said. “It’s just garbage, but the intent and/or apathy associated with the action or inaction can spread like wildfire... but so can positivity and pride.”
Thompson’s role as a pastor’s wife gives her the title of first lady in the church.
“My main thing is that I want to be the first lady serving Amory,” she said.