Two members of the Ardmore Beautification Council were recognized for their efforts last Saturday at the 27th Annual Environmental Excellence Celebration in Norman.
ABC president Regina Turrentine received Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and volunteer Janice Sappington was named affiliate champion.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a person for at least 25 years of outstanding achievements in leadership, environmental stewardship and efforts that improve Oklahoma’s environment. Turrentine founded the beautification council in 1989 while she was a member of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce.
She said when they began, they had no funding and no office of their own.
“We were just flying by the seat of our pants back then, with a lot of passion,” Turrentine said.   
Things changed in 1995 when Charles Smith donated money to seven area nonprofits, including ABC. They moved into their own office and registered as a 501c3.
“We laugh a lot and we sweat a lot,” Turrentine said. “We do have a sense of humor, but we work. And we worry about the future. We think beautiful makes beautiful. Beautiful hearts, beautiful minds, everything.”
In her 20 years as a volunteer with ABC, Janice Sappington has painted trash cans, planted flowers, organized plant walks and done countless other tasks.
“We all do things, it’s a group effort, it just happens that I’ve been doing it for a very long time,” Sappington said.
Sappington said a core group of people have always been at the heart of the organization.
“The core people just love each other and we bring other friends in who are interested,” Sappington said. “They always have an expertise that we don’t have, and that makes us even better.”
She said other groups who’ve worked with ABC, like the Ardmore Clean Team, give people even more chances to get involved.
“Everyone can do something just by looking out their window, putting a plant out or picking up trash, whether they’re part of the organization or not,” Sappington said.