News: Corps displays its appreciation for digital billboard water safety messages
Story by Leon Roberts
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Thousands of light-emitting diodes illuminated water safety messages on digital billboards in the vicinity of Center Hill Lake during the recreation season last year. Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District displayed its appreciation to Lamar Advertising of Cookeville, Inc., for running the free public service announcements that highlighted the “Wear It” Life Jacket Campaign.
Maj. William L. Judson, deputy district engineer, presented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio Division Water Safety Group Award for 2010 to Ron Graves, general manager of Lamar Advertising, and thanked him for his willingness to commit such a valuable company resource on public safety.
“I just want to say thanks to you all for your hard work and your donation to support us,” Judson said during the award presentation. “There were 2.7 million viewers of these messages. That’s quite a lot of people who have seen the work you have done.”
The major added that the cost alone for displaying these messages demonstrates a commitment by Lamar Advertising to protect the welfare of the local community, and further shows how the company values the personal safety of tourists who visit the area and residents surrounding Center Hill Lake.
During the award ceremony, Diane Parks, Nashville District chief of operations, noted that Lamar Advertising displayed the water safety messages during National Safe Boating Week in May 2010 on four separate state-of-the-art digital billboards located in some of the highest volume traffic areas in Cookeville and McMinnville. The messages were also displayed during other peak visitation periods throughout the summer, including holiday weekends. She said it is estimated that the public viewed the digital messages 100,000 times per day.
Graves accepted the award from Judson on behalf of the company and its employees, and commented afterward on the company’s decision to support the “Wear It” Life Jacket Campaign.
“Just about everybody that works here is into boating and fishing, and spends some time on the lake,” Graves said. “We’re part of this community. It’s something we can do to kind of give back a little. A little of it is about business, but more of it is about quality of life for the people we serve and our employees. To be able to help out with a safety message such as this has a big impact. I can remember when we first moved to this area and the first time we went out to Center Hill Lake. It had a sign down there where it showed how many people drowned in the lake and how many drowned without a life jacket. It was amazing. So it’s good to be a part of the [water safety] program.”
David Rich, a construction technician for Lamar Advertising, said after the ceremony that he is proud to be associated with a company that obviously puts the safety of his own family and friends first.
“It’s a real great honor that the company that I work for would do something for the public safety. I think it’s a great thing,” Rich said. “I hope we can continue to do it in the future because I think a life saved is a great honor for a company to do something like that.”