CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke plans to kick off Keep Tennessee Beautiful month with a public event March 7 at 7:30 a.m. at the Franklin Theatre.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be among those participating in the morning event on Franklin’s Main Street.
“Chad is proof that one person can make a difference. His passion and dedication have motivated countless others, including myself, to get involved,” said John Schroer, honorary chairman of the event, former mayor of Franklin and commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. “TDOT was proud to join him for the massive clean-up effort on the Mississippi River. He is truly a hero, and we thank him for helping us bring positive change to communities across Tennessee.”
Pregracke received the CNN honor for generating more than 700 cleanup days along the Mississippi River through his nonprofit organization, Living Lands and Waters. He’s organized more than 70,000 volunteers to pick up 7 million tons of trash, 90 percent of which has been recycled.
He was nominated and awarded Hero of the Year by CNN viewers over a five-week voting process in December 2013, but immediately took some of his $250,000 in winnings and dispersed $10,000 each to the other nine finalists for the award. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said that had never happened in the history of the Hero of the Year Award.
Pregracke’s appearance is sponsored by Keep Tennessee Beautiful and the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County along with other community groups.
Tickets are $10.
For tickets and more information, visit franklintheatre.com.