Rita Lacey's reaction to receiving a call from Washington, D. C.?

"Unbelievable!"

She was informed that she and her business, Close the Loop in Kunkletown, had just won a national award from Take Pride in America, and will be recognized at a ceremony and reception at the White House on July 18.

Take Pride in America is a nationwide partnership program authorized by Congress to promote the appreciation and stewardship of our nation's public lands. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior for the benefit of all public lands at all levels of government nationwide.

In addition to promoting public lands stewardship, Take Pride in America recognizes and honors outstanding volunteers through its annual national awards ceremony. Individuals, groups, organizations, programs and federal land managers are honored for their contributions to our public lands and for their efforts in utilizing volunteers in creative and innovative ways.

In support of President Obama and Secretary Salazar's call to service, Take Pride in America is leading the U.S. Department of Interior's United We Serve initiative.

In the official letter Lacey received after the initial phone call, it stated:

"Congratulations on being selected as the 2011 Take Pride in America National Award winner for outstanding corporation! Our panel of judges was impressed by the hard work and dedication you have demonstrated with your volunteer service. We are privileged to honor such accomplishments."

Members of her family, friends and colleagues will accompany Lacey to Washington to see her receive the award.

Close the Loop, LLC 's mission is to help preserve the environment by viewing waste as a valuable resource, and to assist in the development and marketing of consumer recycled products which create jobs and help clean up the environment.

Close the Loop was established in 2000 and prides itself as being an environmentally and socially-focused company offering innovative recycled products such as: 100 percent recycled plastic split rail fencing; glass mulch; rubber landscape timbers and more. Close the Loop encourages people to view our waste as a valuable resource. By making products from recycled raw materials, the waste stream is reduced, saving energy, water, landfill space, and potential air pollution during product manufacturing, and is good for our environment, and the economy by creating much needed manufacturing jobs.

As part of Lacey's mission to help her community realize the importance of recycling, Close the Loop has, for the past three years, organized "Give and Take Days" in coordination with Chestnuthill Township Park, Ross Township, West End Park & Open Space Commission and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The benefits of a Give and Take Day are many, including:

Ÿ Reuses items instead of throwing them away;

Ÿ Saves our natural resources and landfill space;

Ÿ Items stay within community;

Ÿ Saves money from purchasing new items;

Ÿ All items are free;

Ÿ Donations of leftover goods were sent to nonprofit organizations, including the Salvation Army;

Ÿ An estimated 9,000-plus pounds have been saved from going to waste in landfills from the Give and Take Days;

Ÿ The public is educated about new products made from our waste materials.

"I hope the idea for a 'Give and Take Day' spreads like wildfire across our country. We kept hearing how great an idea this was and people loved it," says Lacey. The award confirms that Take Pride In America agrees.

When organized properly, a Give and Take event benefits all in the community and CTL is willing to share the tool kit at no cost with any interested organization across the country to successfully hold their own Give and Take event in their local community.

"The value of a person isn't measured by how many things we have, it comes from how well we take care of our neighbor, our community, our earth," says Lacey.

To learn more about Close the Loop and to help be part of the solution, visit www.closetheloop.com [1]. Follow on Twitter, http://twitter.com [2] and Facebook, www.facebook.com/closetheloop [3].