One of Ringgold's most iconic residents turned 50 last week, and to celebrate, Lee Tubbs invited the community to a party.
The unusual part was the guest of honor: a giant mouse.
"The mouse is an icon in the community," said Tubbs, owner of EnviroGuard Pest Solutions, for which the mouse is an unofficial mascot. "It's a point people use for directions and for geocaching."
Tubbs inherited the 12-foot, 1,200-pound statue in 2013 from his family in Memphis, who owned Atomic Pest Control. When they went out of business, he hitched the mouse to a trailer and drove it out to Ringgold, where it's presided over the town ever since, perpetually chowing on its slice of cheese.
Often, Tubbs said, people will honk a quick "hello" as they drive by, or pull over with their family to take photos. So on July 12, he invited customers and community members out to EnviroGuard to celebrate the mouse's 50th birthday. Cleaned up with a fresh new paint job, the mouse sparkled as festivities were shared over cake, ice cream and pimiento cheese — something Tubbs said the mouse would like.
"He's a really slow eater," Tubbs said with a chuckle.
Tubbs has been in pest control since 1979. In 1997, he branched out to start EnviroGuard. The full-service company is licensed to help residential, industrial and institutional clients combat pests, termites, bed bugs and moisture via one-time, monthly or yearly contracts.
Over the past few years, Tubbs has introduced a "green" service that uses products that are safer for the environment, children and pets. He said he's noticed a shift with people now treating their pets more like family than animals.
He warns about an uptick in mosquito infestations this year due to standing water from an "unusual amount of rainfall." The rain has also driven rodents to seek shelter indoors, said Tubbs.
EnviroGuard boasts a QualityPro certification, which is earned by less than 3% of pest control companies, Tubbs said. Each of his employees undergoes ethical business training, too.
"People don't hire us to apply pesticides, but to fix a problem," said Tubbs.
EnviroGuard can be reached at 706-965-7078 or email@example.com.
Email Sabrina Bodon at firstname.lastname@example.org.