Veterans Day 2023

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Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Tribute to Veterans Day 2023

By Mary Allen Murray, AmeriCorps Member, Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Black Warrior Riverkeeper hosted a cleanup on Veterans Day 2023 in Holt, Alabama, in the heart of Tuscaloosa County. In order to celebrate our veterans, the community came together, despite rainy conditions, and showcased their commitment to preserving the precious land our veterans fought to protect. Students from The University of Alabama worked to remove over 600 pounds of roadside trash and debris along Alabama Avenue.

Holt borders Hurricane Creek which flows into the Black Warrior River and is popular for swimming, picnicking, hiking and canoeing at Hurricane Creek Park. The cleanup played a role in proactively removing trash, preventing it from entering the waterways in the first place and thereby protecting the beloved outdoor activities enjoyed by all who visit the park.

Students from The University of Alabama gather for the 2023 Veterans Day Cleanup. Photo by Katie Holmes, Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

Hurricane Creek is so special that it has its own Waterkeeper group, The Friends of Hurricane Creek, led by John Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper. Wathen’s amazing story, including his military service in the Vietnam War and move to Hurricane Creek, is featured in Alabama Rivers Alliance’s Southern Exposure Documentary, “The Accidental Environmentalist.” As members of Waterkeepers Alabama, Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Friends of Hurricane Creek collaborate frequently, such as addressing Tuscaloosa’s chronic sewage overflows.

Like many small towns across America, Holt has a rich history of military service. It is home to a large population of former and current military personnel, with the most common service period being the Vietnam War. On Saturday, students united to pay homage to veterans by actively contributing to Holt’s scenery and water quality. To serve your community through Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s volunteer projects, visit

Volunteers removed over 600 pounds of litter from the Hurricane Creek watershed on Veterans Day. Photo by Katie Holmes, Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

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