In May of 2017, Patty Korn contacted the Lincoln County Commissioners and asked if there was a commissioner who cared about the environment and who would champion several environmental initiatives, including making Lincoln County an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.
This is how Commissioner Anita McCall responded, “Patty, you are the leader! You don’t need a commissioner to champion it — you already are the champion.”
“After Commissioner McCall’s supportive email, and with former Commissioner Rich Permenter’s encouragement, fellow Denver residents Ben Benoit (who is now deceased), George Fischer, Betty Hickey, Bob Seitz, Michele Velligan, and I began the work to make Lincoln County an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful,” explains Patty. “Two county employees, Joshua Grant and Jeanette Johnson, joined our efforts, and in May of 2019, after meeting all the requirements, Keep Lincoln County Beautiful was officially recognized as an affiliate.
A non-profit organization founded in 1953, Keep America Beautiful is the largest community improvement organization in the United States, with more than 620 affiliate organizations.
Patty has lived in Denver since 2004, after serving 20 years in the Air Force. Having moved frequently during her military career, she sadly says she has never lived in an area with so much roadside litter. “I don’t want children in our area to grow up thinking this is how roadsides are supposed to look,” she adds.
Patty is motivated to improve her community’s appearance, and she’s not alone!
“There are now three Keep Lincoln County Beautiful volunteer committees: Beautification, Litter Prevention, and Recycling,” Patty explains. There is a KLCB Board of Directors which is composed of three members from the community, three members from businesses/industry, and three members from government (Lincoln County, City of Lincolnton, and Lincoln County Schools). Within each of these three groups, there is a member from the eastern, central, and western areas of the County. Jenna Harmon is the Executive Director of KLCB.
Since KLCB’s inception in May 2019, volunteers have devoted 3,046 hours, and have picked up 5,461 bags of roadside litter.
Patty rotated off the KLCB Board of Directors after serving three years as President, but is still very active in the cause. “I do a litter pickup or a median cleanup several times a week, work on beautification projects in the Denver area, and lead two KLCB events each year, including our participation in the Denver Christmas Parade and the Lake Norman Cleanup, also known as the Catawba River Sweep,” she adds.
Patty is also the Chairperson of the Denver Beautification Committee, which she organized in August of 2021 to accomplish other beautification projects around the community. Those include a tree planting project at North Lincoln Middle School, several beautification projects at East Lincoln High School, and installation of the statue of a girl reading on a bench at the Shanklin Library in 2023. Denver resident Mrs. Elaine Carter generously donated the funds for the trees at NLMS and the statue at the library.
One last note from Patty — if you see her out by the roadside, thank her “silently” for her good work — she says she appreciates your support, but honking horns can be scary!
If you are interested in more information about Keep Lincoln County Beautiful contact Patty at email@example.com or call 704-451-7313, or Jenna Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-732-9030. Donations to KLCB can be made via their website www.klcbnc.org, or by mailing a check to Keep Lincoln County Beautiful, 353 Generals Blvd, Lincolnton, NC 28092. Donations to the Denver Beautification Committee can be made to the East Lincoln Betterment Association (ELBA), P.O. Box 922, Denver, NC 28037 (please write “Beautification” on your check.) Donations to GoFundMe Litter-Free Denver NC also help fund Patty’s volunteer roadside litter pickups and median cleanups.