2003 Hometown Heroes

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 Decatur's Hometown Heroes for 2003
2003 Hometown Heroes
Doug Aholt
Doug sees a need and takes the initiative to be a part of the solution. He served as volunteer youth soccer coach, chaired the Decatur DeKalb YMCA's Partners for Youth fundraising campaign and received their Volunteer of the Year award. He is an active member of the Decatur Bulldog Athletic Booster Club, supporting sports programs in the Decatur public school system. He also serves on the board of Our House. Nominated by Mary Rigger.

Dottie Aiken
Dottie was a founding member of the city's Recycling Task Force, which later became the Waste Management Advisory Board. She was instrumental in developing the Pay-As-You-Throw program by making presentations to neighborhood associations, performing detailed budget analysis and working closely with the Sanitation Department to implement the program. Nominated by Tim Bricker on behalf of the Waste Management Advisory Board.

Andrea Berry
Andrea has given enormously of her time and talents to Renfroe Middle School, including serving as president of the PTA. She created, designed, and maintained the Renfroe website and is frequently at the school taking photos and interviewing staff, parents, and students in order to update the website and give credit to all who work to make Renfroe a wonderful place for children to learn. She publishes the Renfroe E-News via email for the Renfroe community and developed a PTA hotline. She contributes all with a positive attitude and wonderful dry wit. Nominated by Ellen Slack.

Chris Billingsley
Chris has taught social studies at Decatur High for 27 years. In addition, he is sponsor of the DHS Interact Club, a Rotary sponsored service club. Chris volunteered to be the first Interact sponsor at DHS and the club is thriving under his leadership. He has put in countless hours and weekends and one of the kids won a Rotary college scholarship because of his help. Nominated by Lee Ann Harvey and Heather Burger.

Ruby Bock
Ruby spends hours volunteering in the Scott Park Community Garden, planting, tilling, providing information to the gardeners, and weeding the gardens of seniors who are unable to take care of their plot. Ruby also served as the chair of the Grounds Committee at Winnona Park Elementary and is a Master Gardener. She is a major contributor to the quality of life for Decatur citizens. Nominated by Greg White for the Decatur Recreation & Community Services Department.

Cassondra Breedlove
Cassondra worked for the City of Decatur as personnel officer for eight years. During that time she volunteered for almost every committee and organized three Black History Month celebrations, working hand-in-hand with Mayor Emerita Elizabeth Wilson. Cassondra now works for Fulton County, but she never stopped volunteering her time for the City of Decatur and all Decatur events. She willingly goes the extra mile, often serving as a "captain" of volunteers at the Beach Party, Beer Tasting Festival and more. Nominated by Kecia Cunningham and Elizabeth Wilson.

Heather Flury
Heather has co-chaired the Children's Arts Festival for two years and her efforts resulted in a bigger and better Children's Arts Festival. She has also been an annual volunteer for Christmas Decatur, working in the distribution center and on the hotline, and was instrumental in encouraging friends and family to purchase holiday gifts for the program. She is like a pied piper rounding up friends, family, and even strangers to volunteer with her. Nominated by Lee Ann Harvey.

Phyllis Gilbert
Phyllis is a tireless volunteer for the Oakhurst neighborhood, serving as picnic coordinator, safety block captain, and serving on the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association executive board, website committee, marketing committee, outreach committee and development committee. She is the founder, editor and producer of the Oakhurst Leaflet. The Leaflet began as a four-page publication with no graphic layout and has evolved into a 12-page monthly publication with graphics and ads. Nominated by Julie Rhame, Stacie Buckley, Kimberly and Brian Zwaagstra, and Patti and Gary Garrett.

Paul Jones
Paul has been a resident of Decatur for over 25 years and has been a community builder/activist even longer. He has been a fixture at Decatur City Commission meetings and City Schools of Decatur school board meetings and can always be counted on to volunteer for committees or task forces. He has been a vital member of the Decatur Taxpayers League, co-community architect of Decatur's 1993 School Redistricting Plan, and served on a Taxpayer Relief committee and Budget Task Force committee for the city. Nominated by Rhett Rhame, Vandy Vail Dickson, Jean Quade, Laurie Gorbatkin, Tom Stubbs, Tom Keating, and Alvin McNeely.

Julie Rhame
Julie was instrumental in establishing the Oakhurst Neighborhood School Coalition, which has increased enrollment at Oakhurst Elementary and aided in future planning for the system; changed negative attitudes into positive ones, creating community support for the school; identified a strong volunteer base to help make the school better; and created a stronger, friendlier community where people know one another. The coalition is made up of doers – people who care about maintaining the diverse community that is Oakhurst and maintaining academic excellence. She recently ran unopposed and was elected to the City Schools of Decatur school board. Nominated by Rachel Cochran and Stacie Buckley and Patti Garrett on behalf of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association.

Dr. Mance C. and Mrs. Joy Rogers Jackson, Jr.
Since moving to Decatur in 1968, Dr. and Mrs. Jackson have become a continuing inspiration and backbone of the community. Their home has been the birth home and meeting place of community institutions and community action efforts. They began active involvement in College Heights Elementary in 1968, serving in the PTA throughout the elementary, middle school, and high school years of their children. Through their leadership efforts, the Metropolitan Atlanta Girls Club, Inc., was founded and Mrs. Jackson served as the director of the club that was housed in Oakhurst Presbyterian Church. The club served 75-100 girls regularly during the week and some 500 each summer with a variety of activities. Nominated by Rev. Jack Marks.

Becky Smith
Becky is tireless in her efforts on behalf of the Decatur Booster Club. She helped organize a new sales and marketing campaign that filled up the booster board and doubled program ad sales. Becky is a charter member of the Peavine Creek Watershed Alliance. The group is actively involved in influencing local government decisions that impact water quality in the metropolitan area. She served as co-chair of the Westchester PTA, is a regular volunteer at Renfroe Middle School and is a member of the board of the newly organized "Diamond Club" that is a parent booster group for the Decatur Bulldog Baseball Team. Nominated by Bill Bibb and Lyn Menne.

Robert J. Soens, Jr.
Robert is a steadfast supporter of the city of Decatur, especially his Oakhurst neighborhood. He has been a major influence behind the Community Center of South Decatur and the South Decatur Community Development Corporation as well as the Decatur Preservation Alliance. He has worked on ways to bring these groups together to strengthen the community. He worked with the Decatur Preservation Alliance on its signature fundraising event. He was the driving force in Decatur's first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day service project. Nominated by Lee Ann Harvey.