Partners of the Cherokee National Forest participated in an unprecedented second event when seven southeast Tennessee Walmart Super Stores had employees volunteer their time in performing trail maintenance and campground cleanup at the Chilhowee Recreation Area in the Ocoee Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest in Polk County, TN. In June of 2011, employees and store managers from the same seven stores participated in the first multi-store employee volunteer day at the Chilhowee Recreation site.
It was a fine early fall morning in the southern Appalachian Mountains where the day began with cool weather, a slight breeze, and the true Tennessee Volunteer spirit. The 50 volunteers worked through poison ivy, yellow jackets and a lot of green briar. Everyone was glad of the cool weather because the yellow jackets were less aggressive, stated Brenda Rosado, a fifth time volunteer.
Jackie Chapman (pictured), Walmart Market Manager and Jason Taylor, South Cleveland Store Manager, led the volunteers in clearing a mile of hiking trail, and painting the amphitheater’s bench seats, 12 picnic tables, several lantern post and signs. In addition the volunteers performed campground cleanup on 15 campsites. Chapman said, “I am extremely pleased with the work our employees achieved. It is rewarding to see employees giving back to the community”. Taylor said that he knew of no other Walmart Sustainability Program that involved employees from seven stores at two separate events. A couple of volunteers drove for nearly two hours to participate. Other Walmart Super Center Store managers participating with their associates were Darrell Lyons-Madisonville; Shawn Crews-North Cleveland; Todd Suchey-Collegedale; Mark Lathim-Dayton; and Ken Miget-Rockwood.
Wal-Mart Corporation established an Employee Sustainability Program designed to promote one’s health awareness and condition by providing volunteer hours to projects that benefit the local community.
The Ocoee Ranger District Recreation Technicians Walter Merrill and Steve Biatowas, organized the work details and had technical support from three other employees. Walter, a 30 year plus federal employee mentioned “He was proud of all the work performed and thankful for the remarkable support by each of the stores’ employees”.