Tribute to Larry Bandy & Paul Baird, Clean Air Friends

By Pat Hunter


On behalf of Clean Air Friends- Clean Air Kids, Inc. Board, we would like to pay tribute to two individuals that cared about others and gave their time unselfishly to help improve air quality in Loudon County. 


Just last week, we received word that a good friend and ally had passed away suddenly. His name was Larry Bandy. Before Larry’s passing, came the passing of another close friend and brave soldier involved in the clean air movement, his name was Paul Baird. Both of these fine gentlemen championed this cause for the ordinary person. Larry and Paul were past board members of Clean Air Friends. Breathing is vital to life, and good health and attaining clean, safe air quality was important to Larry and Paul.


Way before local and state officials even acknowledged any inkling of dust and particulates or any type of air quality issue, Larry voiced his concerns and brought awareness like a steady drum beat. Larry offered proactive solutions. He actively participated to address and reduce air pollutants.


His voice and your public input was the basis for the installation of the first TDEC ambient air monitor to sample air quality. The monitor was located on his property neighboring the Sugarlimb Industrial Park. He talked to people and knocked on doors of friends and neighbors with flyers and pictures in hand to urge them to get involved and attend permit hearings.


When Larry spoke at permit hearings and meetings he asked for accountability. Often times he would leave environmental bureaucrats, corporate heads and government officials speechless. Larry reminded me of the old EF Hutton commercial, when EF Hutton talks, everyone listens. That’s just the kind of person, which he was – never short of words and right to the point. 


A few weeks ago, we discussed concerns about the prospects of another polluter locating nearby; and true, to his word he followed up with a letter to the editor to express his views.


Our friend Larry had finesse; he was a vital and driving force to improve air quality. He will long be remembered for his contributions and hard work. We will sorely miss his strong voice, presence and knowledge that Larry possessed. He was plain spoken and caring. Our condolences to his wife Rita, children, grandchildren and other family members, our hearts and thoughts are with you all.


We would like to thank Van for allowing us the opportunity to recognize the efforts of two unassuming but extraordinary individuals who gave their time and energy toward improving our and our children’s quality of life. We would ask that the best way to honor both of their memories is to get involved as a citizen advocate for clean air. We believe Larry and Paul would like that. 





Pat Hunter

Pat Hunter

President, Clean Air Friends – Clean Air Friends, Inc.