River group honors late Newnan mayor Glover

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Sally Bethea, center, executive director of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, presents the award honoring the legacy of the late Gandy Glover to family members Peter Glover, left, and Taylor Glover.

From STAFF REPORTS news@newnan.com Newnan's late Clifford "Gandy" Glover was a long-time real estate agent, a two-term mayor -- and a conservationist and passionate supporter of the Chattahoochee River. His love of the river was recognized with an award presented posthumously Thursday by the group Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper at the 17th annual Patron Appreciation Dinner and accepted by his brothers, Peter Glover and Taylor Glover. Among those in attendance at the dinner event at The Foundry was friend Warren Budd of Newnan.
"In the 17 years that I've been your riverkeeper, I have been inspired in this work by hundreds, maybe thousands of people ... their comments, and their actions. There have also been a handful of people who've helped me see, feel and truly understand the Chattahoochee River in all her beauty and with all her troubles," said Sally Bethea, executive director of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. "One of those people was the man we are remembering and honoring tonight -- born Clifford Glover, but called Gandy all his life. And, that name suited him," she said. Bethea described Glover as a fisherman extraordinaire and hunter who she said always wore camo and boots except to church on Sundays ... who built campfires that scorched tree leaves 40 feet off the ground... he was a man who just loved the outdoors. "And, with his expert skills, Gandy taught others less knowledgeable how to navigate, and feel comfortable, in unfamiliar terrain. He was an excellent teacher," she said. "A former two-time mayor of Newnan, Ga., top real estate agent and devoted father, Gandy had the very best laugh you ever heard. He could get anyone to smile, at any time, no matter how glum they felt," she said. She noted that as his minister said in his eulogy this past April, Glover was also a Peter Pan who never seemed to want to grow up. "He liked to play -- in his beloved Coweta County, in the woods and on his river -- the Chatt," Bethea said. "Now, he could certainly be difficult, ornery, crude and maddening at times, as a number of you in the room tonight know oh so very well," she said. "What you and I also know well is that there was no better friend or conservationist in this state. Gandy was, however, a conservationist of a different sort. He did not fit the stereotypical urban liberal, bird-watching, tree-hugger formula. He was more of a tobacco-chewing, Early Times sort of conservationist. "He didn't know much about the dozens of laws that protect our river, or the convoluted permitting processes and multiple levels of decisions that affected the health of his Chattahoochee. What he -- and his friend and mentor Junior Arrington -- did know was what was right and what was wrong when it came to how people treated the river. "And, if they saw someone throwing trash in the river or otherwise polluting the water, they were willing to take matters into their own hands ... and they got results," she said. Glover cut his conservation teeth on the protection of the Flint River, when he was still in his 20s, Bethea said. She said she was told by his friend Warren Budd that Glover was furious about the plans to build a dam on the Flint at Sprewell Bluff and destroy a scout camp, along with miles of pristine riverine habitat. So, Glover wrote his senator -- it was Herman Talmadge back then -- demanding that the senator oppose the dam. Glover told Talmadge that he didn't want the youth in the area trading their hunting knifes and fishing rods for a six-pack and a ski rope. Decades later, Glover was at an event on the Flint to announce the creation of the Flint Riverkeeper organization led by Gordon Rogers, who Bethea noted was at Thursday's dinner. Former President Jimmy Carter, a longtime Flint dam opponent, was the keynote speaker at the celebration, she related. Budd told her he remembers walking up to Carter and saying, "Hello Mr. President." Behind him, he heard Glover yell, "How ya doing, Jimmy." Warren says he cringed until he heard the former president say, "I'm doing fine, Gandy, how are you?" Glover replied, "You remember that big bream you caught fishing with me?" Carter answered: "I sure do, it's the biggest bream I ever caught." "Quintessential Gandy Glover," Bethea noted. A decade ago, when Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper decided to appeal a huge water withdrawal permit issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to a major electric utility company, Glover agreed to help by serving as a standing witness, Bethea said. "He knew the river downstream of Atlanta near the coal plant like the back of his own hand -- and he did us proud in the courtroom," she said. She noted that Glover was especially proud of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper's legal victory against the city of Atlanta and the measurable progress made to stop illegal discharges of hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the river -- what she called "nasty pollution that no longer makes its way downstream, past Newnan and Coweta County." "Gandy understood better than most people in this room what it means to be a downstreamer in Georgia and how much of a fight it can take to clean up the rivers that belong to all of us," she told those gathered. "That love of nature and that fighting spirit were embedded in his very soul." "In the memory of this lifelong friend of the Chattahoochee River, our organization is re-committed to doing everything it takes to continue to restore the long-blighted, now recovering river south of Atlanta," she said. The award presented to Gandy Glover's brothers, Taylor and Peter, features "one of our favorite pictures of their brother taken by Joe Cook, the Coosa Riverkeeper," she said. In the image he is dressed in camo and boots, "of course," she said, "sitting on the back of his famous Cadillac with its mud-flaps and dog cages ... parked at the edge of the river."


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