This year's Anti-Litter Campaign for the city of Chickamauga marks the first in the cleanup's seven-year history that Anna Haney will not be out picking up trash, according to Joyce Harrison, third vice president and chair of conservation for the Chickamauga Woman's Club, which hosts the annual effort.
For that reason, this year's campaign is in honor and recognition of Haney, who is battling cancer.
"Each year, Anna has come at 8 a.m. to walk a mile and pick up trash," Harrison said. "This has demonstrated her unwavering dedication to the cause. Each year she and other volunteers physically pick up trash, hoping each year the awareness will make a difference in eliminating the unsightly trash on the roadsides.
"Sadly, this year Anna will be unable to participate because she is ill and undergoing treatment for sarcoma — malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor."
Haney is a 2014 Gordon Lee High alumna. Harrison said she is typically one of 60 volunteers on average at each year's cleanup.
"The message is 'Stop littering,'" Harrison said of the initiative. "We want to encourage people to be more conscious of litter and not throw things out and hopefully litter won't happen. We keep doing this to show citizens of Walker County how it's not good to drive this scenic area and see trash. It's about educating people."
Cleanup participants are asked to wear tennis shoes and outdoor clothing and meet at Holland-Watson Veterans Park at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 16. Trash bags and gloves will be provided.
"It's a two-hour walk," said Harrison. "We take care of the entryways of the city of Chickamauga. We take care of the park, the high school and Crawfish Springs. We take care of 12th Street, Lee-Clarkson Road, South 341, North 341, Crittenden Avenue, Wilder Road and Camp Road. We have five or six entryways into the city. We would love to cover more of Johnson Road."
In addition to cleaning up the city in her honor, citizens can donate money to go to Haney.
"Chickamauga Woman's Club is honoring and recognizing Anna Haney with 'Hearts and Hands for Anna,'" Harrison said.