May 18, 2013

Werner Braun: INVISTA employees help with river cleanup

With all the intensive rain and flooding going on in and around the Dalton area as of late, it’s impossible not to be aware of the fickleness of Mother Nature.

Spring is supposed to be a time when we take stock of the beauty around us and appreciate the greening of trees, the budding of flowers and the promise of good harvests to come.

But this spring, we’ve all seemed to be a bit more concerned about having our raincoats and umbrellas “at the ready” than with enjoying all of this emerging beauty.

That’s most of us, anyway. A number of employees in one of our related industries, one that is a Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) member, have found a few dry days in the past month or so to do some truly meaningful appreciation of our natural resources.

This particular company, INVISTA, has a plant in Waynesboro, Va., and many of their employees took part in a river cleanup earlier this spring,

Chris Henderson was one of them. He jumped right into the river in his waders, carrying trash bags which he filled up with debris he found along the one-mile stretch assigned to the volunteers.

“I felt the urge to help clean the river up,” the Fishersville, Va., resident said. “Polluting is bad and we need to all do our part, especially since the community has been pushing fishing and the river as an attraction.

“We have a beautiful river. It would be nice to keep it nice.”

Nearly a dozen volunteers participated in the cleanup, collecting trash along the banks of the South River.

“Adding value to our community and society is a core principle to how INVISTA operates its manufacturing facilities,” commented Brenda Kennell, the company’s environmental specialist and on-site coordinator.

We should applaud the efforts of companies such as INVISTA who do the right thing to make their communities better places to live in.

INVISTA is the world’s largest integrated fibers company, producing the Stainmaster brand of carpet products. The company has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for its environmental efforts.

The EPA recognized INVISTA for self-reporting environmental violations. This fits into INVISTA’s mission statement, which says the company strives to build a culture of “principled entrepreneurship, including uncompromising integrity and compliance.”

It’s obvious that they get the big picture.

But it’s just as obvious that they get the smaller one as well, as they are making a difference for a cleaner tomorrow in their own backyard.

In a few short months it will be our turn, closer to home. The Conasauga River Cleanup will take place in late October, in conjunction with Make a Difference Day. We always manage to have a good showing with our local businesses and corporations whose volunteers put on their waders and bring trash bags to remove debris from our river.

Thanks INVISTA, and Chris Henderson, for seeing the trees in the forest. And for seeing the beauty of our rivers and streams and doing something about it. And thanks, in advance, to all of our good neighbors who will be making the same kind of difference this fall.

Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.

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