“I’d rather swim than eat. I really would.” -The Moviegoer
I remember one of the first times my folks took me to Logan Martin. We had a small jon boat full of tackle and snacks for a long day of fishing. All I wanted to do is swim… all day long!
I remember jumping off docks that at the time seemed stories high. Wearing goggles to check out the critters under the pier. Being told to get out and put on more sunscreen. Getting back in too soon, only to be thrown a t-shirt in the water so I didn’t burn. I remember the feeling of a lifejacket that was up to my ears. Sitting in my daddy’s lap as we drove around the mouth of Choccolocco Creek. I remember the mud between my toes because I didn’t want to wear water shoes. I remember the first time I went down slide off a dock into the lake. I remember the time my daddy told me about the pollution by my grandmother’s house near Snow Creek in Anniston.
All things memories led me to today. Along the way, I’ve only fallen more in love with this river. I’ve relished in talking with the folks who know the skinny waters like an old friend. The tales of epic catfish. The loss of fish that broke your line. The flips and “yard sales” at Moccasin Gap. The lilies at Hatchet Creek. The roadside stands with the best boiled peanuts.
On Saturday, I celebrated five years as Executive Director of Coosa Riverkeeper. Five years of friendships, five years of skeeter bites in the field, and five years of fighting to protect the Coosa… a river that I still try to convince folks to swim in. Thankfully, our Swim Guide program provides families some peace of mind. Maybe some kids will grow up one day and spend their career protecting the natural spaces they grew up around.
Thank you to the many people who got me and our organization to this point, your patience and investment in my leadership means more to me than you’ll ever know. Cheers to each of you, and to the Coosa!
This post was written by Justinn Overton, Executive Director of Coosa Riverkeeper.