Monday first person to receive statewide environmental award

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By Crystal Huskey

Glennis Monday was born and raised in Campbell County. Before becoming the county’s environmental officer, he worked in the coal industry and would spend time walking along the roads of his community to pick up litter during his free time. He was recommended for the job of environmental officer by Colonel Tom Stiner, then county mayor.

This month, he was awarded the Larry E. Potter Law Enforcement Award for his dedication to keeping Campbell County litter free. The award is a new award created by Keep Tennessee Beautiful to recognize a law enforcement professional, such as a police officer, prosecutor, judge or environmental compliance officer, who has gone above and beyond in their approaches to enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, according to Keep Tennessee Beautiful.

Monday was in shock at receiving the award. He originally attended the ceremony with the thought that he would be doing a presentation on litter. Once that presentation was complete, they presented him with the award.

“I’m on cloud nine,” he said.

According to Olivia Robbins, business development specialist at the Campbell County mayor’s office, Monday first met Potter, the judge for whom the award was named, at a Blount County seminar in 2002. At the time, the fine for criminal littering -- anything between 5-10 lbs. in weight -- was only $250 and 14 hours of community service.

Monday felt that was not enough to deter people from illegally dumping their garbage.

For several years, he worked directly with Potter at getting the fines raised to their current amount of $500 and 80 hours of community service.

They have since had a longstanding friendship, and Potter was proud to present the award.

“Judge Potter has been a mentor of mine,” said Monday. “I’m tickled to death to have gotten that award. It’s an honor and I really appreciate.”

Monday believes without reservation that Campbell County is “the prettiest county in the state.” He works hard every day to make sure that it stays that way. He hopes that the community will come together more often to make sure the county stays clean and litter free.

“What I love most about Glennis is that he practices what he preaches,” said Robbins. “He would never ask someone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself, which, in my opinion is the truest example of a great leader.”

Monday is a standard bearer of integrity and civility, according to Robbins, and is “as highly respected as anyone can be in the environmental law enforcement field.”

“I know of no one more deserving of this prestigious award,” she added.

From rappelling down a cliff to clean up an illegal dumpsite to swimming through a creek to collect a 56-pound water heater, Monday has done it all and consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty, according to his nomination papers. When he first started the job in 1999, he picked up an average of 1,000 bags of trash per month. Despite the continued littering, his average monthly bag intake is now down to 377 bags per month. That is a 62% decrease in 18 years.

The reason for such a decrease in the amount of litter being collected in Campbell County is due in part to some of the projects that Monday started under the litter control program, according to Robbins.

Monday is passionate about litter prevention and believes it should start with children in the school system. Every year, Monday personally goes to the local Head Start centers and elementary schools to talk with kids about litter and how it affects the community. He starts by getting down on the floor with the students and showing them pictures of animals on the roadways who are trying to eat trash that someone has thrown out, according to Robbins, or he will show them pictures of what was once beautiful scenery but is now trashed with litter. He discusses a person’s responsibility to protect animals and nature in the community by not littering. At the end of every session, he hosts a ceremony with each student and swears them in as unofficial litter officers for the county. Each child is then given their very own litter officer badge, just like the one Monday wears, so they can enforce litter laws too.

Monday also helped start a recycling program in the school system in 2008, which now involves all 11 county schools and thousands of students each year. This school recycling program has significantly helped to decrease the amount of waste sent to the landfill each year through the county’s solid waste department.

Public awareness is a big facet of Monday’s job. Every fall, he sets up a litter booth at different festivals in the county to present litter prevention initiatives. He can also be found every Christmas riding through the Jellico and LaFollette parades in his litter truck.

Each spring, he puts together an event at different parts throughout the county to target areas where heavy littering occur and has held a Great American Cleanup event every year since 2003.

Monday received $1,000 to be given to the nonprofit organization of his choice.