John Thurman named
ANDERSON COUNTY COMMUNITY HERO

 


John Thurman teaches
 students about the critters
found in Coal Creek

We already know John Thurman is a hero.  At a ceremony on 7 December 2004, Anderson County made it official.  Heroes helped shape us, inspire us, they were who we wanted to be when we grew up.  John is an individual who goes above and beyond what is expected.  He donates his time and skills to make a difference in the lives of others.

John Thurman serves on the board of directors of the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation and the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  John resides in Norris, but not only volunteers in Norris, but on projects in other parts of Anderson County. His volunteer efforts help Anderson County’s environment, education of our children, and tourism economy.  He especially cares about children and our environment.

Thurman volunteers on bank
stabilization and flood
prevention projects in Anderson County

John is an example of how a person doesn’t have to make things complicated or spend a lot of money to contribute to a community.  He has the ability to explain a problem and a course of action in terms that motivates others.  He uses his talents, knowledge, and strengths and contributes to what is important to him.  He proves that if you work towards things you are passionate about, it never feels like work.   John doesn't live in the Coal Creek watershed, but he saw a community in need and did something about it.  An excerpt from an article in the Oak Ridger newspaper sums it up best:

"The Foundation, which is all volunteers, has reinvigorated interest in the area's mining past.  But the volunteers are also improving the present and future for the residents' lives and the environment where they live. The Foundation is made up of some residents, but mainly others living outside the area of Coal Creek and its mountainous communities.  They were and are simply concerned about the area and its people.  Helping the people of your neighborhood is admirable; helping people of another deserves applause".

The numerous newspaper articles and TV news reports highlighting some of John’s projects attest to his accomplishments.  Specific details can be found at www.coalcreekaml.com and www.crctu.com.

In addition to John (C), Briceville Librarian Lynette Seeber (L) was honored as an Anderson County Community Hero for her work with the Briceville children.  CCWF board member Rosemary Phillips (R) was also recognized for her community service in Coal Creek. 

A select few of the projects that John has volunteered thousands of hours on include:

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Co-founded a Tutor/Mentor program at Norris Elementary School six years ago.  There are now almost 40 adults who volunteer in this program for K-5th grades.

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Volunteered to install and design a special storm water sampling system throughout Coal Creek and a biomonitoring system in the Clinch River to document the effects of sediment problems and how they affect aquatic life in the Clinch River.  The Clinch River is an Anderson County treasure.

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Coordinated the development of the video, “The Clinch River Tailwater – Anderson County’s Natural Resource Jewel”, used by volunteers, including John, to promote tourism with businesses, civic groups, and community organizations.

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Coordinates activities in the creek during Coal Creek Health Day at Briceville School to demonstrate to the students how the health of the creek is a barometer of their health.

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Provides fishing guide services on the Clinch River, donating all proceeds to conservation efforts.

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Flood prevention – participates in Deadwood Removal Days to get volunteers to clear debris from bridges to reduce flooding.  In the past, people have died from flooding in Coal Creek. 

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Worked on Coal Creek bank stabilization projects which won a national award from FEMA.

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Illegal trash dump clean-up, which won TDEC’s 2002 Aquatic Resource Preservation Award.

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Has helped remove over 6,000 illegally dumped tires from the Clinch River and Coal Creek.

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Volunteer at the annual “Kids Fish Free Day” on the Clinch River.

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Teaching not only the Norris children, but also the Coal Creek children, the value of staying in school and going to college to be able to take care of themselves and their community.

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John was a court appointed special advocate (CASA) where he gathers information about abuse and neglect cases.

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Taught as a volunteer in the Anderson County Adult Education Program.

Top six award winners (Left to Right)

Leroy White of Oak Ridge
John Thurman of Norris
Eleanor Nelson of Norris
Lynette Seeber of Oliver Springs
Katie Meersman of Oak Ridge
Cynthia Smith-Bailes of Oak Ridge

Article in the Oak Ridger

Trout Unlimited Clinch River Chapter Home Page

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CELEBRATING OUR 16th YEAR!!