//Valdosta City employee honored with Public Works Service and Awareness Award

Valdosta City employee honored with Public Works Service and Awareness Award

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VALDOSTA – City of Valdosta employee Russell McBride was named the recipient of the 2024 Public Works Service and Awareness Award.


The Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) proudly announces Russell McBride as the recipient of the 2024 Public Works Service and Awareness Award. This prestigious honor recognizes Russell’s outstanding dedication to public service and his remarkable contributions to the City of Valdosta, particularly in environmental stewardship and community involvement.

McBride’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of dedication and passion. Born and raised in Tewksbury, MA, Russell’s upbringing in a military family instilled in him a strong sense of duty and service. His 15-year career serving in various operations overseas further honed his leadership skills and instilled in him a profound respect for teamwork and perseverance in the face of adversity.

“Russell McBride’s remarkable contributions to the City of Valdosta exemplify the spirit of public service and civic accountability,” said Richard Hardy, Valdosta City Manager. “His steadfast commitment to advancing initiatives for the betterment of our community, has had a profound impact, and we are proud to recognize his outstanding achievements with this well-deserved award.”

Upon retiring from military service in 2015, McBride’s adventurous spirit led him to pursue outdoor activities, including scaling Mt. Fuji and hiking the Appalachian Trail. It was during these explorations that he developed a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature and a heightened awareness of the environmental challenges facing our planet.

McBride’s commitment to environmental stewardship was sparked by a poignant observation of pollution in Sugar Creek, a tributary of the Withlacoochee River. Witnessing the detrimental impact of trash on the waterways, McBride was compelled to take action. Recognizing the need for a practical solution, he devised the idea of constructing a barrier to contain and remove trash, thus preventing further pollution downstream.

His initiative and resourcefulness led to the implementation of the Watergoat, a robust barrier system designed to trap floating debris in water bodies. With the support of city officials, McBride spearheaded the installation of a Watergoat in Sugar Creek in June 2022 and volunteered to maintain it. Over the past 18 months, he has diligently monitored and cleaned the device, showcasing his unwavering dedication to preserving the cleanliness of the river.

McBride’s efforts extend beyond his role as a water treatment plant operator; they embody a commitment to safeguarding the environment and enhancing the well-being of his community. His active involvement in river cleanups and community initiatives underscores his passion for making a positive impact and leaving a legacy of environmental stewardship.

In addition to his environmental advocacy, Russell’s exemplary performance as a Class II Water Treatment Plant Operator is characterized by his meticulous attention to detail and unwavering dedication to quality control and public health. His round-the-clock vigilance ensures the provision of safe and clean water to the residents of Valdosta, even in the face of adverse weather conditions and unforeseen challenges.

Assistant Director of Utilities Jason Barnes remarked, “Russell McBride’s work ethic is unparalleled. He approaches every task with dedication and precision, ensuring that the highest standards of quality are met. His commitment to public service and environmental stewardship is truly inspiring.”

McBride’s remarkable journey from military service to environmental activism exemplifies the transformative power of passion and dedication. His unwavering commitment to excellence, demonstrated through his daily efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of his community, makes him a deserving recipient of the 2024 APWA Public Works Service and Awareness Award.

Russell McBride shared his gratitude upon receiving the 2024 Public Works Service and Awareness Award from the Georgia Chapter of APWA, saying, “I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award. It is truly a testament to the collective efforts of our community in advancing public service and environmental stewardship. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the City of Valdosta, and I look forward to continuing our journey towards a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations.”

Russell McBride will be officially recognized at the awards banquet in Jekyll Island on July 11th, 2024.