1998 Hometown Heroes

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1998 Hometown Heroes
1998 Hometown Heroes
Decatur's 1998 Hometown Heroes, described by their nominators.

Bob Coleman and Betsy Tanner
Nominated by Ben Monroe and Paul Root
"It's not unusual for parents to be involved in activities their children are interested in, but Bob Coleman and Betsy Tanner's kids left for college three years ago and this couple continues to direct Explorer Scout Post 175 (a coed faction of Boy Scouts of America for high school students). Bob and Betsy's leadership style encourages us to make our own decisions which we have to carry out and then live with the consequences - getting 20 high school students to agree, and then act on a decision, is a real exercise in group dynamics."

Toni Young
Nominated by Mary Prozora
"Toni is the artistic director for the Decatur-based Uhuru Dancers and the children's Watoto Uhuru. As a board member of the Decatur Arts Alliance, she has championed the Decatur Arts Festival's outreach program to Decatur's school children as a way of giving all of Decatur's children an opportunity to broaden their arts horizons and experience. In 1997 Toni took on the challenge of adapting the popular World Stage venue of the Arts Festival to the new community bandstand and creatively used the space around the Old Courthouse to engage the audiences. She has done much to seek out new performers who best represent the variety and cultural diversity of our community."

Lyn Deardorff
Nominated by Tom Deardorff
"Listed here are some of the things Lyn has done for our community: co-owner, Final Touch Gallery & Books; member, Downtown Development Authority Board; contributor to Decatur Town Center Plan; member, Decatur City Commission; co-founder, Decatur's July 4th celebration; founder and first president, Winnona Park Neighborhood Association; officer, Decatur Business Association; alumna, Agnes Scott College; instrumental in reactivating Decatur Historical Society; founder, Decatur Neighborhood Alliance; served on countless committees for a wide variety of civic activities; tireless booster of the City of Decatur for more than 23 years; Mom to four terrific kids."

Sally Wylde
Nominated by Judy Turner and Peggy Merriss
"Sally organized and directs an in-town gardening project for young people. Located at the corner of Oakview Road and South McDonough Street, the Decatur Community Garden provides an opportunity for young people to learn about vegetable, plant and flower gardening. They plan, plant, and harvest their gardens and it teaches them about patience and rewards for looking into the future. Sally has worked to beautify the area in Oakhurst, both residential and business. Sally has started a unique project that benefits many. She has received grants in excess of what the application addressed, thus showing a great need for this type of project."

Evelyn Sims
Nominated by Joanna Quillen and Deborah Willis
"A hero puts self aside, takes a risk and steps in to do a job that no one else can or is willing to do. Evelyn Sims does what needs to be done even when she knows that it will be tough. Glennwood Elementary was in need of unification; we were divided by misunderstanding as well as by neighborhood. She could see that the children were the ones suffering from the situation and she put her own experiences of hurt aside for their sakes. As a mother, she had experienced frustration watching her own children struggle to get the education they needed and now, as a grandmother, she witnessed the struggle of her grandchildren and the children of her neighborhood. Yet, rather than nurse resentment she drew on years of trust that she earned through relationships with her neighbors at Swanton Heights and asked them to get involved in the school. Glennwood is different now. The PTO meetings are full of compromises between people learning that we are all unified by the fact that we love the same children. She will never run out of plans for making Decatur an exceptional hometown."

Clarence DuBois
Nominated by Peggy Merriss
"Mr. DuBois is the scout master for a Boy Scout troop located at Oakhurst Presbyterian Church. He organized a group of parents and other concerned residents to reactivate the troop so young boys could participate in positive activities and benefit from the lessons of scouting. He served as co-chair of the Cambridge Avenue Neighborhood group; helped organize a petition requesting speed humps on Cambridge Avenue; and helped organize the 1998 Oakhurst Homecoming Festival."

Louise Jackson
Nominated by Peggy Merriss
"Ms. Jackson is a longtime resident of Decatur. She has actively participated in PTA groups (when she had no children in the schools); she is an active Neighborhood Watch participant; a member of the Oakhurst Neighborhood group; and has organized and participated in numerous community cleanups. Working with Sally Wylde, Ms. Jackson and students from Fifth Avenue Elementary planted a garden in the Oakview Road median near the school to help students appreciate gardening and maintaining the area around them rather than littering. She is a strong example of how inter-generational cooperation can have benefits for everyone."

Jason Uchitel
Nominated by Harry DeMille
"By his activities with Decatur boys, ages 7-17, with the Boy Scouts, he has taught these youngsters self reliance and citizenship. His current Scout troop has a registration of 56 Decatur boys. Twenty-six Decatur Troop 175 Scouts have attained the Eagle Rank during his current 10-year tenure. Four of these Eagles were selected for the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and now serve their country in Naval Service. Since only two of every 100 Scouts attain the Eagle Rank, you can see that his influence on the Decatur youngsters has had a dramatic impact."

Steve Vogel
Nominated by Carol Reap
"As one of the original appointees to the City of Decatur Historic Preservation Commission, Steve helped get the program off the ground. During his six years he spearheaded the creation of a driving tour, computerization of the historic resource survey, and development of design guidelines to help residents and business owners appropriately renovate their properties or build new structures. Steve has also worked to strengthen neighborhoods, from distributing newsletters for the Winnona Park Neighborhood Association to currently serving as president of the South Candler Street Neighborhood Association. Steve is a contributor, a worker, a leader, and a community booster."

Julia Levy
Nominated by John Ridley and Lyn Menne
"Julia organized the Leila Ross Wilburn Historic District committee to prepare the nomination for the McDonough-Adams-Kings Highway neighborhood as Decatur's first local historic district. She worked with her committee to research and prepare the nomination documents and participated as a member of the district task force to work through design review issues with neighborhood residents, Agnes Scott College and the Historic Preservation Commission. Julia attributes her zeal for historic preservation to her father, a former college history professor in her hometown of Warrensburg, Missouri."

Jean Quade
Nominated by Juli Fleming
"Jean organizes and defines a task, moves on to a new area, and four people are required to replace her. She coordinates Scholastic Book orders for students and spends hours figuring out how to get extra points for free books for classroom libraries and a summer book for students. Then she sponsors, out of her pocket, the popsicle party for returning students in the fall who turn in a book report. There is no job too menial, time-consuming, or too devoid of public glory for Jean Quade. She drives the grandmother next door to church weekly. The amazing thing about Jean is she sees a need and acts immediately and with huge modesty."

Jon Abercrombie
Nominated by Jim Baskett
"Jon always looks for ways to give greater voice to those persons in our community who have not often been heard. He designed and developed the Decatur Roundtables; writes and distributes a newsletter devoted to building community; and has brought many factions together to support the plan to redevelop the Community Center of South Decatur property. Few in our city have devoted as much time and energy to the work of building a better community."

Richard White
Nominated by Emilie Markert
"Richard cheerfully donates flowers to every meeting of the Decatur Business Association and we in turn give them to a special recipient. He provides flowers for many businesses on a weekly basis and he has given hundreds and hundreds of flowers to families who participated in the Holiday Home Tour. Through his friendliness, generosity in giving and participating in projects, he embodies the spirit of Decatur. Often Richard takes the initiative to call nonprofits and ask if he can help with flowers before they call him. He seems to never say no when asked for help. He sets a wonderful example for businesses and citizens."