Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Buck Lindsay, left, of Lindsay Pope Brayfield Clifford & Associates, receives the Environmental Legacy Award from presenter Bartow Morgan, Jr., right, during the Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful 33rd Annual Awards Celebration at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place in Duluth Friday.
DULUTH -- As they burst through the doors of a ballroom at a Duluth hotel on Friday night, these quasi members of the rock band KISS took the dinner crowd by surprise, and quickly set the mood of the evening with one-liners, punchlines and other wise cracks about the 1980s.
Local actors Scott Warren, Anthony Rodriguez and Bart Hansard dazzled the crowd as they aimed to duplicate KISS members Peter Criss, Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley.
"We had quite a carbon footprint," said Rodriguez, or "Simmons," referring to the band's well-known concerts that featured band members breathing fire, spitting blood and using various pyrotechnics.
As a nod to the year the organization was founded, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful held an '80s-themed award dinner on Friday night at the Atlanta Marriott at Gwinnett Place. The 33rd annual event honors community environmental heroes for their ongoing environmental consciousness and stewardship, GCB executive director Connie Wiggins said.
"It was a time when the world began to focus on a common sense of purpose and people began to use their influence to enact change," Wiggins said. "We feel like tonight we're honoring those people who have a common purpose."
The event honored nine individuals, businesses or other groups for not just one-time projects, but ongoing environmental consciousness and stewardship, Wiggins said.
The evening's most prestigious award went to Buck Lindsay, an architect, who said his industry has a responsibility to preserve the environment. Lindsay was given the "Environmental Legacy" award for setting a new standard for greener, more efficient buildings. He also designed the Gwinnett Recycling Center using old telephone poles to serve as the structure of the building.
"It fits really well with what I do, and the recognition, I appreciate it," Lindsay said.
The "Volunteer of the Year" was nicknamed "Mr. All-in" because GCB board member Randy Dellinger, a district manager for Jackson EMC, does whatever is needed, from chipping Christmas trees to painting over graffiti, Wiggins said.
"He's involved and leading the way," she said.
The city of Lawrenceville was recognized as the "Government of the Year" for having consistent and aggressive code enforcement, and a new beautification initiative.
Lawrenceville Coca-Cola was named the "Industry of the Year" for promoting recycling, and having its employees show a personal commitment to the cause.
Georgia Gwinnett College was named "Partner of the Year" for being engaged in the community, and being extremely active in nurturing environmental stewardship in future generations. Wiggins recalled GGC President Daniel Kaufman saying, "We only have one chance to do it right."
A leading venue in the hospitality industry, the Gwinnett Center was the "Business of the Year" because of its "green" efforts in that industry.
Norcross packaging company RockTenn earned the "Recycler of the Year" honor for having cutting-edge sustainability initiatives, including forestry practices and waste production. Wiggins said the company, one of the world's largest recyclers, has even ramped up efforts to help people look at products as a resource, not waste.
The "Community Group of the Year" honored was New Church of Atlanta, which lists its core mission as service to the community. Wiggins said members of the church have been heavily engaged in cleaning up roadsides, streams and teaching members to be good environmental stewards.
The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford was honored as the "Building of the Year" for nurturing tomorrow's leaders, Wiggins said.
The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology was named the "Educator of the Year" for being committed to service learning, and helping students apply knowledge and skills from the classroom to solve environmental problems in the community.