McAlester Volunteers Paint Fire Hydrants

Fourteen volunteers met at B and Jefferson Park on Saturday, March 8th to paint fire hydrants in parts of the city’s First, Third, and Fourth Wards.

Pride In McAlester Volunteers were joined by members of the Choctaw Nation Youth Advisory Board Crowder Chapter and within two and a half hours, fifty-one hydrants had a fresh coat of paint!

The hydrant project is possible thanks to a partnership with the City of McAlester Fire Department. They provide paint and a map with the updated hydrant colors indicating green, orange, or red based on output.

Painting fire hydrants not only helps to Keep McAlester Beautiful, but also helps the city be safer by ensuring that fire fighters can easily and accurately identify water pressure in case of a fire in the neighborhood.

2017 Spring Cleanup!

Pride In McAlester is excited to announce the dates and details for the 2017 Spring Cleanup!

On April 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, & 30th we will set up at the Former National Guard Armory at 301 E. Polk Avenue (North 3rd and East Polk) for you to bring your bulk trash, metal, tires, and electronics. Times for Saturdays are 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sundays are 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

On SATURDAY APRIL 29TH ONLY we will also take household hazardous waste, prescription drugs, and will offer paper shredding.

All of these services are limited to McAlester Residents (no commercial business) and are absolutely FREE. We do accept donations to help fund the nearly $20,000 in expenses.

Here are some more details to help you navigate the Spring Cleanup:

What is bulk trash?

This is all that stuff you have hanging around that needs to be thrown out but is too big or simply too much to fit in your household trash cart. Do yourself a favor and toss it at the cleanup in April!

What about metal, tires, and electronics?

We take anything that is metal or mostly metal and nearly anything that runs off batteries or plugs into the wall. We take all trailer, vehicle, and semi tires, but they must be removed from the rim before you bring them. Bring the rim too, though. We’ll throw it in the metal bin!

How do I haul tree trimmings and brush?

If you have a load that is only tree trimmings and brush, you will deliver it straight to the McAlester Landfill on Highway 270 west of town. They will be open during the same times as the cleanup at the Former Armory (Saturdays 9-3 and Sundays 12-3) You will need to take your water bill or drivers license with you to this location.

What is considered household hazardous waste and prescription drugs?

Oh, where to begin? Household hazardous waste (HHW) are all those chemicals, pesticides, automotive fluids, cleaning supplies, detergents, herbicides, oil based paints, stains, fire extinguishers, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, cooking oil, and more that you know you shouldn’t throw away, but you don’t know how to dispose of. This is your chance! Want to go further? Include your makeup, lotions, and bathroom soaps. Yes, we know you’re surprised, but there’s bad stuff in those as well.

DON’T BRING YOUR LATEX PAINTS. We’ll have to turn you away. What to do with those? We like this suggestion: Add equal parts kitty litter to latex paint in the can (one part paint to one part kitty litter). If you have more than a half a can, you can also pour the paint into a lined cardboard box then pour in cat litter. Once it’s dry, throw it in your household trash.

We will take all prescription drugs this year, and that includes your liquid medications and syringes (thanks to KOB and OGE)! We even accept the ones that you buy over the counter, so tackle that medicine cabinet and get it to us.

Remember: you can only bring HHW and prescriptions on April 29th from 9 to 3 at the 3rd and Polk location.

How does the paper shredding work?

You bring the boxes and bags paper to us and we direct you to a truck that is set up to shred your documents on-site! All of the paper is recycled into new materials! There’s no limit to how much you can bring, but remember that we only support residents, so no business papers, please.

Is there anything I can’t dispose of at the Spring Cleanup?

Yes. We can’t take a burned house and we won’t take your latex, water-based paint. We’ll take nearly everything else.

How is all of this possible?

The cleanup is supported in so many ways to help citizens like you get the burden of waste out of their homes, garages, and yards. This Spring, we will partner with Republic Services for the roll-off dumpster service, the City of McAlester for the use of the property, heavy equipment, and an employee, Pittsburg County Drug Court for community service participants, Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Department for prescription drug disposal, and Oklahoma Tire Recyclers for, well, tire recycling. We work with Yaffe Scrap Metal Recycling, Environmental Management, and the Electronic Synergy Foundation for recycling and proper disposal of metal, household hazardous waste, and electronics. We’re also hiring Green Country Shredding to come out and do our paper-shredding on site.

The expenses of the cleanup are funded in a variety of ways. First, we received a Keep Oklahoma Beautiful OGE Great American Cleanup Growth Grant to help with expanding our household hazardous waste program to accept liquid medications and syringes. Second, we got a generous donation from Compass Capital Management in McAlester to assist with the paper shredding expense. Third, a lot of in-kind donations come in to support the programs and volunteers. These include water, gloves, reflective vests, trash bags, pizza, donuts, pallets, plastic wrap, boxes, and more. Fourth, funds we receive from the City of McAlester are used to pay some of the cost.

Lastly, and most importantly, citizens just like you make amazing donations at the gate to help us offset the cost of the cleanup. Even giving just a few dollars helps in so many ways.

Want to help out?

If you have any of the in-kind items listed above that you’re interested in giving to us, simply call 918-426-4444 and let us know! If you’d rather give money, just click on the “contribute” link at the top of the page.

You can also volunteer your time to help sort materials, unload trailers, track activities, direct traffic and more. No matter to any time constraints, physical limitations, or lack of experience you might have, we’d love to work alongside you! You must be able and willing to sign a liability release and then we’ll get you set in a job you’ll enjoy. Things do get a little crazy at cleanup, so volunteers must be at least 14 years old to participate. Send us an email at or call 918-426-4444 to volunteer.




Pride In McAlester 8th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet

More than 120 people attended the Pride In McAlester 8th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet on February 16th at the McAlester Country Club to honor Pride In McAlester supporters from 2016. This year’s banquet brought all nine Pride In McAlester Board Members and Mayor John Browne before the audience to present awards and celebrate PIM’s 2016 accomplishments.The Pride In McAlester Spirit Award went to Matt House and the Buffalo Run Disc Golf Course while Will Rogers Elementary School recieved the Community Sustainability Award. The Community Partner of the Year went to Choctaw Nation Going Green, the Outstanding Student was Brynn Vaughan, and Volunteers of the Year were the Alexander Family.
The Banquet was possible thanks to the generosity of the Presenting Sponsor, Sam Wampler’s Freedom Ford as well as numerous Corporate and Silent Auction Sponsors. This year’s event raised more than $3,000 for volunteer activities!

Pride In McAlester Earns Keep America Beautiful President’s Circle Award Recognition

Local Organization Recognized for Exemplary Performance, Standard of Excellence

Keep America Beautiful presented Pride In McAlester  with its President’s Circle Award recognition at the recent Keep America Beautiful National Conference, which took place in Washington, D.C. The President’s Circle Award recognizes exemplary performance by certified affiliates of the national nonprofit in creating clean, green and beautiful communities.

In qualifying for a President’s Circle Award, Pride In McAlester has met Keep America Beautiful’s standards of merit by conducting an annual Community Appearance Index, calculating the affiliate’s cost/benefit ratio, and administering activities in the areas of Ending Littering, Improving Recycling, and Beautifying McAlester]’s Community. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful consists of a national network of more than 620 community-based affiliates whose programs, initiatives and efforts, supported by millions of volunteers, help transform public spaces into beautiful places.

“One of Keep America Beautiful’s most effective tools is the work of our grassroots network of affiliate organizations, which has an impact on millions of Americans each year,” said Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons. “Our affiliates are providing real solutions that help create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound.”

“It is an amazing honor to see the hard work of our board, volunteers, partners, and staff recognized on a national level,” said Justin Few, President of the Pride In McAlester Board of Directors.

Community Appearance Index-Litter Index:  The Keep America Beautiful Community Appearance Index-Litter Index is a tool used by its affiliates to visually assess overall appearance of communities through indicators such as litter, illegal signs, graffiti, abandoned or junk vehicles, and outside storage. A team of community, business and government representatives conduct the visual analysis using a scoring system ranging from 1-4, with “1” rated as “no litter” to “4” being “extremely littered.” Each year, affiliates grade their communities during a drive-by examination of the same areas at the same time of the year. This provides an indication of the success of each community’s anti-littering education and other anti-littering programs.

Cost/Benefit Analysis: This measurement tool enables Keep America Beautiful affiliates to demonstrate their ability to leverage community resources by determining the dollar value returned to the community for every dollar invested by government.

The Keep America Beautiful National Conference, its premier educational and networking event, brought together more than 350 leaders from Keep America Beautiful’s national network of affiliates, business leaders, policymakers and other experts who shared innovative ideas and proven strategies to help End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities.

The 2017 Keep America Beautiful National Conference was made possible through the support of some of America’s leading companies, including: Title Sponsor – Wrigley Company Foundation; Leadership Sponsors – Altria, Lowe’s and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company; Stewardship Sponsors – Anheuser-Busch, Steel Recycling Institute; Strategic Sponsors – Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Northrop Grumman; Supporting Sponsors – Foodservice Packaging Institute, Maryland Environmental Services and Owens-Illinois, Inc. Scholarships are provided by Altria, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and The Share Fund.

Pride In McAlester (PIM) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a goal of making McAlester a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful place to live and work. PIM consists of citizen volunteers, business supporters, and partner organizations who contribute time, labor, money, and supplies to ensure that McAlester continues to fulfill its potential as a great place to live and work. From painting projects to litter pickups, PIM’s dedication to keeping McAlester beautiful provides results that can be seen in every sector of the community. For more information, visit or

About Keep America Beautiful

At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country in which every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 620 state and community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. To donate or take action, visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.

Honor McAlester Volunteers

Presented by

Pride In McAlester (PIM) will host their 8th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet on February 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm.  The event serves as a time for members, community leaders and the public to celebrate the achievements of the previous year honor the volunteers and partners who contributed. This year’s honorees are the Alexander Family as Volunteers of the Year, Matt House and the Buffalo Run Disc Golf Course as winners of the Pride In McAlester Spirit Award, Will Rogers Elementary with the Community Sustainability Award, Choctaw Nation Going Green as Community Partner of the Year, and Brynn Vaughan as Outstanding Student.

The event will feature live music from local group Sunset Band and includes dinner, silent auction, and a cash bar. Funds raised the event are used to finance the various community activities, including Community Volunteer Days and the Adopt-A-Block program.

The event is open to the public and will be held at the McAlester Country Club. Tickets for the event are $25 and are available for purchase until Friday, February 10. PIM is also looking for Presenting and Corporate Sponsorships. To purchase tickets or for more information about being a sponsor, please visit or call Stephanie Giacomo at 918-426-4444.

Volunteers of the Year, Matt Alexander and his family regularly contributed time, resources and hard work to the organization and enthusiastically promoted the mission of PIM throughout the year. The family participated in numerous projects including Fresh Paint Days, Community Volunteer Days, Cigarette Litter Prevention, and education programs.

Matt House with the Buffalo Run Disc Golf Course is receiving the Pride In McAlester Spirit Award for commitment to the enhancement of McAlester. The disc golf course project has displayed many of the core values of Pride In McAlester, including the promotion of healthy lifestyles, volunteerism, beautification, and sustainability.

Will Rogers Elementary School will be awarded the Community Sustainability Award for introducing recycling efforts in the classroom. Working with PIM President Justin Few and Choctaw Nation Going Green, Will Rogers Elementary School has introduced the habit and skill of recycling to nearly five hundred McAlester elementary school children.

Choctaw Nation Going Green, Community Partner of the Year, is the recycling initiative of the Choctaw Nation and has continuously been a resource for Pride In McAlester and City of McAlester efforts. Choctaw Nation Going Green relentlessly works to generate recycling opportunities for citizens and serves as advisors in the pursuit of sustainability for our region.

Brynn Vaughan is the Pride In McAlester Outstanding Student for her organization of the McAlester High School Student Council work day to paint playground and structural equipment in City Parks. She also volunteered during numerous projects including Fresh Paint Days, National Planting Day, and Fall Cleanup.


Corporate Sponsors:

Pride In McAlester Offers Scholarship to Students

publication1Pride In McAlester is offering a $500 scholarship opportunity to recognize outstanding community leadership in young people and help students reach their academic goals. Applications for the J.T. Collier Memorial Leadership Scholarship Program will be accepted until Monday, March 17, 2017.

The scholarship, named in honor of a founder of Pride In McAlester, commemorates Collier’s legacy as a charitable man who was dedicated to improving his community. Pride In McAlester awards this scholarship to celebrate exceptional students who exemplify PIM’s goal of beautifying and enhancing our town.

To be eligible, scholarship applicants must have participated in a leadership role in community service work and volunteer activities. They must also meet the following criteria of being enrolled as a Senior at McAlester High School and have a grade point average above 3.00 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent); and planning to enroll in the Fall of 2016 as a full-time student in an undergraduate course of study at an accredited two or four year college or university.

A scholarship committee will carefully review each application in search of the most deserving recipient.  Judges will consider several criteria, including: leadership experience in community service and volunteer activities; academic grade point average; the content of a typed 500-word essay submission; letter(s) of recommendation; official high school transcript; and number of volunteer hours.

The scholarship award is for one year only and is limited to undergraduate study.

Click here for the 2017 Guidelines and Application

For more information about the J.T. Collier Memorial Leadership Scholarship Program, please contact Pride In McAlester at 918-426-4444 or

How McAlesterites Recycle

Recycling in McAlester isn’t the most convenient process, but it certainly isn’t a challenge. Recycling is conducted by a wide array of citizens from youth to retired and from lower to upper class, numerous citizens see the benefit and and importance of utilizing the McAlester Recycling Center.

To show off how every day citizens recycle, we’ve delved into the homes of a few people to show that there isn’t one right way to collect and sort your recycling. Any system that works at your home is the right system.

The Super Organized

img_0414This is the real recycling collection of a McAlester citizen. They use a corner of the garage to sort and store recyclables. Separate bins for newspaper, other paper and #1 & #2 plastics. A grocery sack for glass bottles and a garbage bag for tin cans. They also use a large cardboard box to collect cardboard. (They save the box when they dump the contents.)

They make drops at the Choctaw bin at Kiamichi Technology Center and at the McAlester Recycling Center. They only make a trip when the bins fill up – usually on a weekend.

The Casual Recycler

img_0293This is another real-life example of recycling in McAlester. This family keeps their collection inside and sort by type, simply sliding the broken-down cardboard in back when needed. Once their recycling fills up, it gets hauled off to the McAlester Recycling Center at Choctaw and Main Street.

The Thrifty Recycler

img_1629This family skipped the cost of fancy recycling container and simply reused existing containers. (Isn’t that paper basket awesome?!) They sort as they go and keep these containers in their garage. When they are full, they take them to the center. They also keep bags at the office & do the same. It takes very little time & their trash can is rarely full!!

The Minimalist Recycler

recycling-bin-with-recycled-materialOkay, I know this isn’t a real-life photo, but it’s pretty much what my recycling looks like at any given time. We collect all of our recyclables in a small red bin that sits in an otherwise unused portion of a counter top in the kitchen. Since we never prepare food in that area, it works in our relatively small home. The bin gets full every couple of days, so we simply sort it out into reused plastic grocery bags and drop it by the McAlester Recycling Center on the way to work.

The Crafty Recycler

Looking for a way to recycle that has a bit more character, look at this adorable internet find.

after-1Does that appeal to you, but you don’t have the horizontal space? This vertical version is equally attractive.

3c5a62c970667657be3387b4811ba761One common theme you’ve probably noticed in most of these are labels. It’s true – if there are more than two people in your home and your plan is to presort your recyclables, you’re going to want to clearly label your bins to prevent cross contamination.  Besides, what doesn’t look better with a label?!

The Office Recyclerimg_1040This is the recycling collection at the Pride In McAlester office. Yes, we have fancy collection bins that we received in-kind several years ago. If you’re into that kind of thing, a simple visit to the local home store will probably help you locate your very own blue bins for a lot less money that you’d initially assume.

The process for recycling in McAlester is pretty basic and we’ve condensed it into this helpful infographic for your quick reference.

untitled-infographic(1)As referenced above, there is also a Choctaw Nation Going Green Bin at the Kiamichi Technology Center, the Choctaw Nation Community Center, and Mann’s Flowers. They collect many items that the McAlester Recycling Center doesn’t currently accept.

choctaw-recyclablesWant more? You got it!

recycling-flyerStill have questions about recycling? Call Pride In McAlester at 918-426-4444 or send us an email to

Happy Recycling!