Keep Brownwood Beautiful mission statement: To empower the citizens of Brownwood through education and participation to take responsibility for their community environment.
From corner to corner and street to street and in the parks, when you see beautification, it is thanks to Keep Brownwood Beautiful and executive director Cary Perrin has put her heart and soul in the organization for more than 15 years.
A native of San Francisco, Perrin arrived 20 years ago, moving to Brownwood from Brightwood, Oregon. Before moving to Brownwood, she worked as a special education teacher and behavior modification specialist.
Once here, she and her partner Daniel Graham, immediately embarked on remodeling their home and she spent time traveling to dressage horse events all over the nation and the world with her mother Maryl Perrin. She accompanied her mother, who was a dressage rider, to horse shows in England, German, Austria and Portugal and all over the U.S.
Once the house was remodeled, and her parents moved to Blanco, Perrin was able to dive in to her work with Keep Brownwood Beautiful.
Originally called the Brownwood Beautification Commission, and started by Mary Marshall Holley and others like Kay Leipzig, the organization was inactive for a number of years. It started up again in 2002 and that is when Perrin became involved, as an active volunteer and board member.
When Program Coordinator Nece Zipper moved, Perrin was appointed to the position in 2002 and she has been devoted to the organization since then.
Being involved in KBB has been a blessing she said, especially when she needed the flexibility to care for her ailing parents.
“I was fortunate enough to have a job that was flexible enough for me to go back and forth when I needed to,” she said.
Her mother Maryl succumbed to ALS four years ago and her father, Frederick, died a year later from cancer “and a broken heart,” she said.
Perrin championed many projects with KBB, including applying for and receiving beautification grants from the Texas Department of Transportation, which built and funded many raised and irrigated beds throughout the city.
And, Perrin and the other volunteers and board members practice what they preach. One of their biggest projects each year is the City-Wide-Clean Up, which is co-sponsored by the City of Brownwood. During the annual cleanup, citizens may drop off debris, waste and other items under the Austin Avenue Overpass.
“It is so people can get rid of their items for free and it helps with illegal dumping,” Perrin explained. “This event gives folks a way to become compliant (with city codes).”
During the event, KBB works with the sanitation department and the landfill.
“They are awesome,” Perrin said.
Twice a month, KBB hosts in-town recycling events under the Austin Avenue Overpass. Ten years ago, KBB purchased a recycling trailer through a grant via the West Central Texas Council of Governments.
The monthly recycling events have grown considerably.
“We now work closely with the Recycling Center and the sanitation department,” she said. “We use a trailer and three roll offs to collect items.”
And, local businesses help too. For example, the pavilion at Community Plaza was purchased through a grant from Barr Fabrication.
Most recently, KBB has planted colorful Crepe Myrtles along the esplanade along Carnegie Avenue, replacing a number of live oaks that died. Members have also been planting colorful flowers in beds all over town including around the offices of Greenleaf Cemetery.
“We are also helping with fund raising for them (Greenleaf Cemetery),” she said.
Keep Brownwood Beautiful is aligned with Keep Texas Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful. The six-member board oversees operations and KBB operates on an annual stipend from the City of Brownwood, donations and fundraisers. Volunteers are always needed.
“We will go where ever people need us,” Perrin said. “We will help anywhere.”