Coosa Riverkeeper gets new director

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

Justinn Overton was approved as the Coosa Riverkeeper’s new director at their July 14 meeting; since transitioning from her role as a part-time employee, Overton said the now two-person full-time staff has been able to focus more energy on the organization.

Before becoming a full-time employee as director, Overton served the organization part-time as the director of development while she was also working another full-time job, she said.

Not only that, but former director Frank Chitwood was serving as full-time director and full-time riverkeeper. With Overton taking over the director position, Chitwood is focusing on his role as riverkeeper, which involves monitering the river and making sure that any issues, such as pollution, are addressed.

Overton said her new role will allow her to become more of a spokesperson for the organization, which is focused on protecting the Coosa River. She is also responsible for answering to the board of directors, working with donors, working with corporate sponsors, coordinating programs and special events, development work and more.

Overton received a degree from the University of Alabama focusing on environmental advocacy, and she first got involved with Coosa Riverkeeper after meeting Chitwood at a Black Warrior Riverkeeper event. She has been working part-time with Coosa Riverkeeper since Aug. 2012, and she said her work is very personal.

“I think that clean water is something that everyone deserves to have, whether its consumption for drinking, or whether you like to play or go fishing,” she said. “My family is from Anniston, and my drinking water was from the Coosa River. I drank that water, and my family still drinks that water.

“Environmentally, businesses and people should be held responsible for their actions.”