Often visitors can be heard commenting how beautiful it is in Rim Country, and a lot of that can be credited to an organization in Pine and Strawberry that donates its time, labor and, in many cases, its members donate money from their own pockets to keep Pine and Strawberry looking as good as it does.
Take Pride is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and western heritage of Rim Country by spending countless hours making improvements and cleaning up the two communities.
Ira Gibel said that in the last year, Take Pride built a bus stop to give the 20 some high school students who attend school in Payson a shelter during cold winter months and rainy days.
Pine has no zoning ordinances to keep the community clean, so Take Pride took up the gauntlet and has assumed that duty, said Gibel.
In the course of its six-year existence, Take Pride members have graveled dirt roads, built shelters and purchased aluminum picnic benches they placed around Pine and Strawberry, Gibel said.
He said their major contribution has probably been thinning surrounding forests to create healthier ecosystems.
"For our work in advocating thinning and healthy forests we received two awards: 2003 and 2006 from the "Governor's Pride in Arizona Award Program."
Presented to Take Pride Project in Pine and Strawberry for: Environmental Leadership in recognition of your contribution and efforts to a cleaner and more beautiful Arizona," said Gibel.
He said the organization considers it a privilege to benefit their communities and he looks forward to more years of service.
Founded in 2002
Officers: President Ira Gibel, Vice President Sheri Earp, Treasurer Dave Prechtel, Secretary Katie Calderone
Contact information: Ira Gibel at (928) 476-5109
Purpose: Helping to maintain and improve public buildings, monuments and works to add to the beauty of the towns of Pine and Strawberry.
How to join: Go to the meeting and show interest.
Meeting date: Fourth Thursday of the month at the Pine Senior Center at 6 p.m.
Member at large: Denise Prechtel