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Group honored for clean-up efforts

The Highway 80 Adopt-a-Mile Group was awarded last week for their effort to get every mile between Selma and Montgomery adopted and cleaned up before the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

The Highway 80 Adopt-a-Mile Group was awarded last week for their effort to get every mile between Selma and Montgomery adopted and cleaned up before the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Months of preparation went into getting ready for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in March, but one of the most important parts was cleaning up the 54 miles of U.S. Highway 80 that stretch between Selma and Montgomery.

The Highway 80 Adopt-a-Mile Group, who helped make sure every mile got adopted and cleaned up before thousands of people flocked to Selma for the anniversary, were awarded for their effort last week.

The group was presented with the Statewide Adopt-a-Mile Award on Nov. 11 at the 2015 Alabama PALs Governor’s Awards program in Prattville.

“It was one of the largest adopt-a-mile undertakings we’ve ever had, so they were certainly deserving of the award,” said Spencer Ryan, executive vice president for Alabama PALS (People Against a Littered State).

Ryan said the group came to Alabama PALS before the 50th anniversary about the project.

“They wanted to know if we would work with them on getting every mile adopted on the trail. Of course, it was a huge undertaking,” Ryan said.

“We worked with the department of transportation and Rep. [Thad] McClammy and his group, and we ended up getting all the miles adopted, which is a great feat.“

Queen Tate, who was part of the Highway 80 Adopt-a-Mile Group, helped clean the historic highway and adopted a mile herself for her organization, Lilies of the Valley.

“I knew that President Obama was coming, and he was coming in that direction for the jubilee,” Tate said.

“We wanted to make sure that we impressed Obama and let him know that we can clean up our neighborhood and have it clean enough for when he comes to Selma.”

Tate said it was an honor to be awarded for the work the group did in making sure the highway that hundreds of marchers walked 50 years ago for voting rights was cleaned up.

“It was awesome to me,” Tate said. “It let me know that my work is not unseen. People are acknowledging that there is someone here who cares enough to make sure that it’s clean.”

Tate said between two and six tons of garbage were picked up alongside U.S. Highway 80.