I am really not cool enough to win awards

As part of a series of Project Front Yard events this month, Lafayette Consolidated Government held the first annual Project Front Yard awards this week. The ceremony was held at IBERIABANK, and opening remarks were made by Acadiana IBERIABANK President Jerry Vascou. He recalled the time when he and his wife first moved to Lafayette, and his first impression of the city was not a positive one. The city's gateways were not presentable or indicative of the kind of city Lafayette is. He's since changed his tune, and has become dedicated to beautification initiatives, such as Project Front Yard.

City-Parish President Joey Durel then presented the winners with their awards. UL Lafayette President T. Joe Savoie, the Better Block Cameron organizers, Charlie and Jan Wyatt (heads of the Bayou Vermilion Preservation Association), the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, River Ranch Development and Eco Cajun were all honored for their contributions to keeping Lafayette beautiful and staying dedicated to the mission.

It's very surreal to be in the company of entities and university presidents, and to be honored by the city-parish president. Joey recounted a time a few years back, where I was working at a city event and took it upon myself to set up recycling bins for the public to use, and after the event, I assumed the responsibility of taking all the recyclables and bringing them to the recycling dump myself.

It's something I've long forgotten about, but it just goes to show how the actions you take can be remembered by others. And luckily, I wrote a blog post about that day!

If you feel inspired to do something you think is right - do it! Whether you receive any recognition or not, your actions positively impact others. In my Hanson tattoo, there's a megaphone that refers to their Shout It Out album, and I always look to it as my reminder to make my voice heard instead of just sitting idly by.

I certainly don't do any of this in search of recognition - I'm simply passionate about environmentalism, and it's turned these practices into habits, which can sometimes be obsessions. I mean, when I see litter on the ground five feet away from a recycling bin while tailgating at a UL football game, I really just cannot help myself from picking it up and recycling it myself. It's near impossible to ignore litter when I can do something about it!

One of my favorite things to learn at the award ceremony was that the awards themselves are eco-friendly! The metal backings were wrong-sized scraps left over from another function that were sitting around. The metal logo cutouts were punched from another piece of scrap metal from a different project - scrap metal that was going to be thrown out. The etching avoids the need to use more ink. They are beautiful, and could not be more appropriate!

Side note: I'm mainly proud of myself for not tripping or saying anything too stupid the whole evening! These are accomplishments, seriously.

I'm thrilled to play a part in Lafayette's beautification and environmental footprint, and I can't wait to see where we go from here. Honors aside, there's a lot of work to be done in order to achieve our goals, and it's time to hit the ground running. I'm also looking forward to doing a lot more with Eco Cajun to really make it the best blog I can manage!

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