Pulaski Fiscal Court honors late volunteer Larry Stober
By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Amid all the heavy business of Tuesday’s Pulaski County Fiscal Court meeting, officials took a few moments to honor a man who had worked for years to make his community a more beautiful place.
Gerald Hines, Pulaski County Solid Waste coordinator, appeared before the court to remember Larry Stober, who passed away in February of this year after a battle with cancer.
“I know everybody probably doesn’t know or remember Larry Stober,” Hines said. “He was a special friend.”
Hines said he first met Stober in 1997 while “cleaning some of the thousands of roadside dumps in the community that we used to have.”
Stober, who had already been working on his own to clear the Blue John area of litter, asked Hines how he could further help make his home a better place.
“He wanted to know what are we doing, how could (he) get involved,” Hines said.
Environmentalism hadn’t become a common idea in those days, and that was before the county’s recycling program and the well-known PRIDE program really got off the ground. Much of Hines’ time was taken up by cleaning roadside dumps and litter, and so to have someone like Stober to work alongside him, “without being asked,” was a huge help.
“We did a lot of things together,” said Hines.
Eventually, Stober would “adopt” the Diamond Acres boat ramp and clean the area regularly, with the help of his wife, Cathy, other family members, and friends.
“He cleaned many dumps in that community,” said Hines.
And when an ordinance was passed requiring that dilapidated and abandoned structures be cleaned, Stober jumped in and helped to clean 23 abandoned properties in his community, according to Hines.
“His community is greatly different today than when they started,” said Hines.
Hines said he was struck by the dedication of Stober and his family when Cathy Stober called him a few weeks ago for cleaning supplies.
“Larry’s left such a great impression as a volunteer,” said Hines. “He’s what I call a real volunteer. Some volunteers volunteer and look for the camera. Some volunteers never see the camera. That was Larry, and he was a real volunteer.”
Cathy Stober and other members of the Stober family were presented with a plaque honoring Larry Stober’s efforts by Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock. The plaque recognizes Larry Stober’s efforts to beautify his community between 1997 and 2013.
“He did all of this with a humble spirit and with the best interest of Pulaski County in his heart,” Bullock read on the plaque.
“ ... This is a great thing,” Bullock later said. “Larry did a great job cleaning those roads. I know thousands of bags of trash they picked up.”