Rocky Ridge Fire District Awarded grant

Recently the Rocky Ridge Fire Department received a 10,000 grant from Cawaco RC&D for river rescue equipment. Since the purchase of the equipment, it has been used four times- and one of those times was during a training class on how to use the equipment!

The money allowed the fire department to buy a winch to go up and down steep hills. They were also able purchase this board along with floatation device to transport an injured person in the water.

For pictures and video, go here

For slideshow, go here

Cawaco wins three State Awards

Paul McCaleb, Outstanding Council Member


Cawaco RC&D Council Chairman Paul McCaleb won the McCarty Award for Outstanding Council Member of the Year during the Alabama State RC&D Council Annual Meeting held in Mobile on May 30.

Paul McCaleb recognized for the following contributions to Cawaco:

  • Cawaco’s budget grew from $25,000 per year (1992) to over $500,000 (2014).
  • The Council is audited on a yearly basis
  • Parks and Recreation were made top priority for the next 2 years
  • Cawaco is one of the most successful, strongest Councils in Alabama

Paul McCaleb has been actively involved as a Cawaco Council member for over 30 years.  He serves on the Executive Board of the Alabama Association of RC&D Councils, and attends all scheduled state and local meetings. Paul is well-known and respected throughout the region.  Utilizing his influence and contacts, he has been able to identify several impactful Council projects, including: Equipment for fire and police departments, procurement and maintenance of a trailer equipped with tools for trails building and maintenance [to be used by volunteers], and educational programs for schools throughout the region.  Recently he introduced Cawaco to the Administrative Assistant to the Mayor of Birmingham, in an effort to form an alliance to help revitalize underserved areas of North Birmingham.
His commitment to the environment extends to his personal projects, utilizing sustainable methods for managing his forest land, planting wildlife plots, and installation and management of long leaf pine.

Cawaco Program Manager Wins Two Awards


Programs Manager, Patti Pennington received Employee of the Year AND Appreciation for Outstanding Service from the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils.  The awards were received at the State RC&D meeting, May 30th in Mobile, Alabama. 
The award for Outstanding Service was due to her support and leadership of the Electrathon Project.  Specifically, Patti was instrumental in developing the initial relationship with SKY as the program was beginning; nurturing the program and encouraging them to apply for Council grants.  The program provides hands-on education in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) to Calera High School students.  The program has moved from developing battery operated cars at Calera High School, which were donated and used as medical vehicles in Honduras, to a state wide competition that excites students to learn STEM skills while educating the public about alternative vehicles.
As Employee of the Year, Patti is in full charge of AARCDC program projects (challenge, education, and community development).  She brings an attitude of patience with grantees and nurtures their vision in service to others.  She is responsible for coordinating all public relations on behalf of the Council and does it in a way that elevates the Council in the eyes of the public.  In her administration duties, Patti also manages several successful Council projects: Seeds for Change, Tool Trailer for Trails and the River Kids Program. 

Board Member Spotlight

Fred Crawford  ALASKA1

Fred Crawford is the Economic Developer for Chilton County. As such, his responsibilities are to recruit business and to work with business to help them stay in Chilton County and/or expand.

Fred tells me he enjoys trying to get autographs on baseball cards, as well as autographs of baseball Hall of Fame players on baseballs.

His passion is to help the University of Montevallo and the American Village in any way he can. He hopes Cawaco will help make some dreams a reality through its grants program.

Fred says Cawaco was foreign to him until he was hired and took the position as Economic Developer, in June of 2012. He then found out about Cawaco by looking in the files of the Industrial Development Board. Fred tells me, “I thought Cawaco looked like a good thing to be involved in.”

Since then, Fred  has become a very active Board Member who ferrets out new projects and identifies areas of need in Chilton County.

I asked Fred what types of projects he is most interested in, and his response was, “Projects that interest me the most are the ones that get young people to think responsibly about in their life.”

He added, “The grants to the LeCroy Career Technical School and to Calera High School are the ones that I like best. The students are challenged by what they do and it makes them better people.” 

Board Member Spotlight

Gerald Arrington

Gerald Arrington is one of Cawaco’s newest Board Members, and manager of Minooka Park, an off-highway vehicle park owned by Chilton County.

Gerald shows off some fish he caught at the park.
Gerald shows off some fish he caught at the park.

When I asked Gerald what his hobbies were, he replied, ” I am interested in boating, golf, fishing, hunting, and watching/attending Auburn football games!”

Gerald first became aware of Cawaco when he applied for- and received- a Cawaco grant for signage, fish feeders, and fishing gear to be used at the eight acre fishing lake at Minooka Park

Gerald tells me he feels strongly about the Cawaco projects that affect the largest number of people in the community, especially young people.  He’s also  interested in projects that preserve the environment and get individuals involved in outdoor activities.


Gerald is a native of Chilton County and graduated from Chilton County High School in 1981.  He graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration/Industrial management.  He has a  wife, Kim, and  two sons Mitch age 24 and Will age 20.

Cawaco Provides Funding for Household Hazardous Waste Day

On April 26, beginning at 8AM, there will be a household Hazardous Waste Collection Day at McClendon Park at Legion Field. Address: 400 Graymont Ave. West, Birmingham AL

This collection day will assist the public in the responsible disposal of hazardous items such as:

  • Paint
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Electronics
  • Refrigerators
  • Batteries
  • Ammunition
  • Appliances
  • Motor Oil

More information can be found here

Grants for job and leadership skills

Approximately $73M in YouthBuild grants to help disadvantaged youth
develop job and leadership skills made available by US Labor Department.

If you are a non-profit or municipality and lack staff or resources to apply for federal grants, call us! We can help to write and administer your grants for a small fee.

To find out more about this grant opportunity, click here

Spring Clean Up!

2014 “Don’t Drop it on Alabama”
PALS Spring Cleanup
May 3, 2014

OAK GROVE High School Spring Clean Up- Saturday, March 1- Learn more about the Oak Grove cleanup here.

This Spring Cleanup targets household trash, litter and debris that will easily fit into the bags provided. Target areas include common areas throughout neighborhoods and communities; roadways and creek banks; and roadside ditches and storm drains.
Alabama PALS (People Against a Littered State): PALS is a statewide non- profit 501C3 organization whose mission is working with Alabama communities to promote a cleaner and healthier Alabama. The programs are designed to assist cities, counties, schools and communities by providing programs that address litter prevention, cleanup and litter control.
Sponsors: Honda Manufacturing is the title sponsor for the PALS Spring Cleanup. Other financial support comes from ALDOT, ALFA, Vulcan Materials, Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative and several others.
Event Information:
The Spring Cleanup event will take place Saturday, May 3. Residents will meet at a central location in the community and clean up along the roadways and throughout the community. Bags of debris will be placed at roadway intersections designated in the community.
Materials: Free trash bags and media kits will be provided to Jefferson County Communities/Organizations interested in participating in this Spring Cleanup event. Each community will select a coordinator for this Spring Cleanup who will be responsible for picking up materials and reporting results. A few weeks prior to the cleanup, materials can be picked up from the County’s Storm Water Management Department (Jefferson County Courthouse, Room B-210 716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd., N., 35203).
Results Reporting: On the completion of the event the Community Coordinators will need to submit in the following: Volunteer sign in sheet Target areas for cleanup (roadways and community areas) Digital photographs (registration table, volunteers, bags of debris Number of bags collected
To Register Your Community: Storm Water Management Department will coordinate the AL PALS Spring Cleanup with the local communities and organizations in Jefferson County. We need to hear from you by March 5, 2014. Email Hana Burwinkle, or call 205-325-8741for more information.
Community coordinators will be responsible for obtaining and distributing materials, as well as coordinating volunteers. At the conclusion of the Spring Cleanup, community coordinators will be responsible for providing the results.


Empowering people to help themselves