Keep Brownwood Beautiful moves forward with new vision

Special to the Bulletin
From left, KBB board members Mike Roy, Bailey Blair, Sunni Gifford-Modawell and Julia Rodriguez-Arreola walk across Center Avenue in an Abby Road-style photo shoot.
The Keep Brownwood Beautiful board is pictured. From left are Julia Rodriguez-Arreola, Evy Waldrop-Winn, Sunni Gifford-Modawell, Bailey Blair, Mike Roy, Pilar Roy and Amanda Coers. Not pictured: Stephanie Cox and Teresa Doyal.

Though the area is well into summer, Keep Brownwood Beautiful enters a season of growth with new board members, a new coordinator, and new vision for the organization.

Keep Brownwood Beautiful (KBB) is "a non-profit grassroots volunteer organization devoted to making Brownwood a cleaner, healthier, safer, and more attractive place in which to live and work," the organization states on its website.

(KBB) recently organized a quick photo shoot in downtown Brownwood to celebrate newly-appointed board officers and the addition of a crucial piece of equipment: a brand new wheelbarrow. The photo features four KBB board officers walking across the Center Avenue intersection near Pat Coursey Park.

If the composition of the image looks familiar, it’s because the photo is a nod to The Beatles' Abby Road album and an inside joke on the name of KBB’s new wheelbarrow.

“The wheelbarrow’s name is Abby,” KBB coordinator Pilar Roy said.

When Pilar was shopping locally for much-needed equipment, she was helped by a Tractor Supply employee helped her get a very good deal on the wheelbarrow — a blessing for KBB’s limited budget. Roy decided the wheelbarrow would be named for the employee who had provided top-notch customer service.

With a wheelbarrow named “Abby” and four key board members to introduce, it seemed natural to Roy to have their very Abbey Road photo.

“They’re my Beatles,” Roy said.

Infusing humor, music references and the naming of  equipment — Roy's truck “Jimmy Floyd” is a well known presence at KBB clean-ups — showcase Roy's creativity and positive attitude while facing difficulties.

Before joining KBB, Roy spent the last decade caring for her mother’s medical needs at home. When her mother died, Roy needed a change. She was ready to enter the workforce again but was worried her resume would be a little light on experience.

Roy reached out to the local Christian Women’s Job Corp for a semester and realized quickly her resume needed a more up-to-date work history. With their consultation and mentoring, Pilar decided to join a few local groups to improve some skill sets and list volunteer experience.

“I saw on Facebook that KBB needed board members,” Roy said. “I went to a meeting in September 2020 and was invited to join the board.”

A short time later, then-KBB coordinator Cary Perrin submitted her resignation. At the same meeting, longtime volunteer and board member Freda Day also announced the end of her service to focus on her family’s needs. Day nominated Roy for coordinator and she was voted into the position in October 2020, just a month after joining the organization.

Roy was quickly paired with a mentor from the Keep Texas Beautiful organization. She also familiarized herself with KBB’s bylaws and began researching best practices for nonprofits.

“I was excited and scared at the same time. It was all new stuff,” Roy said. “I had been an artist since I was young, and then had spent a long time caring for my mother and now I’m ready to face new things.”

Her artistic nature is drawn to the creation element of her new job. She’s also a highly organized person, drawn to maps and systems in particular. Those personality traits pair perfectly for her as she plans new flower bed layouts around Brownwood.

“I like to bring order to chaos,” Roy said. “I love to keep things tidy and neat, and my work with KBB allows me to make Brownwood more beautiful.”

Along with learning new skills, Roy is learning more about what KBB needs in order to serve the community. Specifically, KBB needs more equipment and volunteers.

"I want to create opportunities for our citizens to feel like they made a difference and for them to feel good saying, ‘this is my town,’ because Brownwood is my home," Roy said.

Previously the focus for KBB has been on recycling and litter clean ups. The new KBB board and coordinator want to expand the focus to engage the community and include more beautification programs.

KBB wants to offer assistance in the future to Brownwood’s elderly or disabled residents with overgrown yards. Recently KBB helped a local disabled veteran clear his sidewalk of debris and overgrowth so he could maneuver more easily on a motorized scooter.

“Volunteering offers a great sense of accomplishment, creating a clean environment not just for ourselves but for our neighbors," Roy said. "We get to help people who are struggling with some overgrowth and yard issues on occasion. We get to educate the community about being more responsible with our trash. It’s a great way to come together for all the neighborhoods — not just ‘oh, these are the nice neighborhoods’ but all the neighborhoods."

To continue the good work, KBB needs to add ladders, a lawn mower, trimmers, clippers, a leaf blower and other essential equipment items.  Community members are asked to fill these needs.

If you want to donate used lawn care equipment that's in good condition, or if you’d like to buy something new for the organization, call or text 325-641-0533, or contact KBB on its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KeepBrownwoodBeautifulTX

KBB also seeks volunteers to spend a few hours a month keeping Brownwood beautiful with a fun-loving and community-minded group. If you are interested in volunteering, visit KBB's Facebook page or website: www.kbbtx.org to learn more.

Funding is also needed, and individuals, businesses, and organizations can donate through PayPal on their website. Brownwood residents can also support KBB with a dollar donation added to their water bill.