Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful holds MLK Day of Service Cleanup



Cove Leader-Press

More than 100 volunteers showed up to pick up 510 pounds of trash on a chilly Saturday morning as part of the third annual Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful MLK Day of Service Roadside Cleanup.

A total of 101 volunteers signed in Saturday morning before splitting between three areas to pick up trash and debris after meeting in the parking lot of McAlister’s Deli. One group focused on the parking lot in front of sponsor Anytime Fitness’s Copperas Cove location, while another group focused on the stretch of roadway between HEB and the shopping center where McAlister’s Deli is located. A third group parked in the parking lot for Lonestar Dental and worked their way along the fence line adjacent to Bus. 190.

Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Commissioner Larry Holly shared a few words about Martin Luther King, Jr. before providing a safety briefing to the volunteers.

This year’s cleanup event was sponsored by PenFed Credit Union and Anytime Fitness, with hot chocolate provided by Ben Cunningham.

Representatives from PenFed Credit Union and Anytime Fitness both mentioned how important it is to connect with the community as part of their reason for being part of Saturday’s cleanup.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was Sunday, January 15. The Civil Rights leader would have celebrated his 94th birthday. The nation celebrates his legacy on the third Monday of January every year with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This day is also known as the MLK Day of Service, and it is the only federal holiday that is also designated by Congress as a national day of service- “a day on, not a day off,” according to the U.S. Department of the Interior website.

During his life, King gave many speeches and made an impact on lots of people. One of his memorable quotes about service read: “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

For volunteers Michelle Williams and her two daughters, K’ayden (9) and Raegan (5), this cleanup was their third time helping with Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful.

The family has helped with their Girl Scout Troop (Troop 6403) before, and Williams said that helping out for this year’s Day of Service is extra important.

“I just think it’s just something that as human beings, we should give back to our community,” Williams said. “It doesn’t take but a second, because I mean, we have 24 hours in a day and an hour to give back to your community- it’s not going to kill anyone, you know? And if we do it enough, it becomes kind of like muscle memory.”

Williams said that giving back to her community as part of the Day of Service also resonated because her father was part of the Black Panther Party and had always spoke about that era in time, when Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights activists made change happen.

Williams added that she and her daughters live in Belton, but they come to Copperas Cove to help make the city a place to be proud of. Williams said that they lived in Killeen, and she had been stationed at Fort Hood previously.

Venice Washington is the general manager of the Copperas Cove Anytime Fitness. During Saturday’s cleanup, Anytime Fitness, located at 3010 U.S. Hwy 190, opened their doors to KCCB volunteers in need of a warm place or a bathroom.

“We're all about community,” Washington said. “Even when we have new prospective members coming in, when they get signed up, we like them to know that their physical health is our number one goal. There’s others that are very concerned with enrollment and just getting as many people in the door as possible to create that revenue, but we're actually here to make sure that people reach their physical fitness goals and exceed them. So, our community aspect is more based around that.”

Washington said that being out at the KCCB MLK Day of Service Cleanup was just an extension of Anytime Fitness’ mission.

“It's a great opportunity to let everybody know that we're there,” Washington said.

Opening the facility to volunteers was a no-brainer.

“They came out here, and they made the selfless act to pick up pieces of trash that some other individuals, they might just look at it and keep walking, but we’ve got individuals out here on a Saturday morning before 10 a.m., taking it upon themselves to help keep Copperas Cove clean, so that's just our way of giving back,” Washington said. “I feel like it's the least we could do.”

Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Executive Director Roxanne Flores said that seeing people of all ages come out to make a difference this weekend was amazing.

“To be able to choose on a three-day weekend to come out and provide service in your community, it inspires me to get out there and create more events to get the community involved,” Flores said. “And it's easy, especially with the colder weather and in January, to stay at home, but to come out and provide service on MLK Day of Service is great and being able to see all ages coming out here and making a difference because they love their community.”

The next KCCB cleanup event will be the Waterway Cleanup held the first Saturday in March.


Copperas Cove Leader Press

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Copperas Cove, TX 76522
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