Pat Fordice honored for cleanup campaign|[12/17/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 19, 2005

The slogan &#8220I’m Not Your Mama!” is probably familiar to any Mississippian within earshot of radio or television. And the words tend to conjure up an image of former Mississippi first lady Pat Fordice, the star of the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s anti-litter public service announcements.

Fordice received the Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award from Keep America Beautiful during its National Awards ceremony at the 52nd annual National Conference in Orlando Wednesday.

While living in the Governor’s Mansion from 1992 to 2000, Fordice spearheaded projects to encourage people to stop littering. In 2003, Fordice agreed to take the lead of the Keep Mississippi Beautiful anti-litter campaign for MDOT – for free.

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Her dedication to clean up her community is what led to the decision to honor her with the Johnson award, which is given annually to a woman who shows exceptional leadership in litter prevention and beautification activities. The award originated during a &#8220Salute to Women in Beautification” program at Keep America Beautiful’s National Conference in 1968. Since, 49 volunteer women have received the award.

&#8220Patricia Fordice’s ability to bring needed attention in Mississippi is very critical in the statewide effort to prevent litter,” said Keep America Beautiful president G. Raymond Empson. &#8220It is fitting that Pat has received the Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award because she is another larger-than-life first lady in Mississippi. Her spirit of community involvement is evident in all she does.”

Fordice, who could not be reached for comment, has also served on the boards of Friends of the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippi’s School of the Arts, the International Ballet Competition, the Mississippi Symphony, the Special Olympics and KMB.

She also hosts a weekly talk radio program on WJNT NewsTalk 1180 AM and co-hosts a statewide weekly television show in Mississippi called &#8220Woman to Woman.” She is a spokesman for the Arthritis Foundation, having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and later lobbying Congress for Medicare coverage of an arthritis drug.

&#8220The gracious and mild-mannered first lady, in her own humble and encouraging way, has come forward time and again to stir citizens and county, city and state leaders to clean up and beautify, and showed what could be accomplished by citizens if they are given the right direction and leadership to improve their communities,” said Keep Mississippi Beautiful/PAL executive director Barbara Dorr, who also serves on the national board of directors of Keep America Beautiful.

In July, Fordice was named by Jackson Mayor Frank Melton to head the Division of Cultural and Human Affairs for Mississippi’s capital city, a position that oversees the work of 170 employees. She resigned about four months later.

Fordice continues as a spokesman and representative of the Mississippi anti-litter campaign, which uses humor to reach viewers and encourage Mississippi citizens to be responsible for their own trash.

Keep America Beautiful Inc., was established in 1953, and is the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. With a network of nearly 1,000 affiliate and participating organizations, such as Keep Mississippi Beautiful and on the local level, Keep Warren-Vicksburg Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. To learn more about Keep America Beautiful, visit