Hometown Hero: Reba Buford

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The Trashmaster's Classic at Barren River Lake celebrated its 30th annual Lakeshore Cleanup this September.

Since the event began in 1987, there's been one person who participated every single year, and for that, we honor Reba Buford as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.

"What I know about Reba is that she's a very, very dedicated volunteer," says Holly Myers, a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Reba is so dedicated to the cause, that she's been volunteering with the cleanup for 30 years straight.

"When it first started out, my late husband and I were both EMTs. So they wanted the rescue squad, they asked them if they would take a boat out with the EMTs on it incase something happened. So the first few years, that's what we did," says Reba Buford.

"She's been to every single Trashmasters Cleanup that we've had," says Myers.

And Buford is the only one who has ever accomplished the feat.

"We do have folks that maybe have been there 20 years, 25 years, something like that," adds Myers, "But when you talk about somebody who's been there every single year, she (Buford) stands alone."

"I love being at the lake. I just think it's beautiful and any time I can get out there, I do. I just enjoy it and I like what they're doing to try to keep the lake clean and I just enjoy it," says Buford.

Making sure all the trash is picked up around the lake isn't a simple task.

Myers says, "We have picked up nearly 300 tons of trash over the 30 years."

"It is worthwhile to see what all you do pick up," adds Buford, "Think about, you know, all that you have picked up is not going to be in the lake polluting it."

Reba says she's also served on the Allen County Rescue Squad for the last 38 years.

"It's good to volunteer. Any time you can volunteer you should," she says.

Those with the Lakeshore Cleanup at Barren River Lake say they depend on volunteers to help keep the lake clean.

"We have a staff right now of 14 people total for the corps of engineers," says Myers, and for this year's Trashmaster's Classic, "We were 14 out of 409 folks that were there that day working to make it all happen. Volunteers are everything."

Reba says she's passed along her passion for volunteering throughout generations in her family, as she now particpates in the annual Lakeshore Cleanup with her children and grandchildren.

She says she'll keep volunteering until she simply can't do it any longer.

For her 30 years of dedicated service to the Lakeshore Cleanup at Barren River Lake State Park, and her continued volunteerism and impact on the community in several surrounding counties, we honor Reba Buford as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.

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