Meet Decatur's 2004 Hometown Heroes
Decatur started its Hometown Heroes program at the close of the Hometown to the World Festival during the 1996 Olympics. The 14-day festival was a success because of the hundreds of volunteers who helped – many of whom worked tirelessly behind the scenes.
At the close of that festival, the City Commission decided to honor all those special volunteers. Since that first ceremony in 1996, the city has presented the Hometown Hero awards annually. With the 2004 presentations, Decatur now has honored 147 Hometown Heroes.
The following information was taken from the nomination forms:
Since moving to Decatur and opening The Seen Gallery in October 2002, Jill has become an important and respected contributor to the community. She chairs the marketing committee for the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association (ONA), works on the committee that organizes the Oakhurst Arts & Music Festival, organized and helped sponsor the Oakhurst Jazz Nights series and the Oakhurst Wine Crawl. When five fledgling businesses on College Avenue burned to the ground last year, Jill was one of the first on the scene to offer help to the business owners who lost everything in the fire. Nominated by: Robert Soens, Julie Rhame, Patrick Putman
Pamela is a strong supporter of her children and the schools they attend. She served as a chaperone on field trips, Chess Club, and the Market Place fundraising event at Clairemont. She volunteers at Decatur High where she is active with the Band Boosters and all band parent activities, as a bus chaperone to away games, concession stand, lasagna dinners and bake sales. She also volunteers on a regular basis with the Volunteer! Decatur program, including the Tour of Homes, distribution center for A Season of Giving/Christmas Decatur, Arts Festival, and Beach Party. Nominated by: Lee Ann Harvey, Jean Quade, Linda Herbers
Every weekend Darlene walks up and down South Candler Street and throughout the surrounding neighborhoods with her gloves on and garbage bag in hand picking up litter along the roadways. South Candler Street is a state highway with a high degree of traffic and can gather a lot of trash during the week. The street is a major entrance into the city of Decatur, is lined with beautiful homes, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The efforts of Darlene to keep the street clean and attractive are a major contribution to our community. Nominated by: Lyn Menne
Terri Jagger Blincoe
Terri coordinated an effort to make a small traffic island at the corner of Nelson Ferry and Fairfield a space for a garden. She raised money, worked with city officials to obtain the necessary permissions, and organized neighborhood work crews to remove the overgrowth, prepare the soil and install a variety of colorful, low maintenance plants. Her leadership, vision and hard work transformed a small triangle of unused space into a beautiful garden. Terri supervises garden maintenance by organizing neighborhood work crews every month and does much of the day-to-day care herself. Nominated by: Tony and Rachel Fiore, John and Alison Hashimoto, Fred and Helen Menefee and the Decatur Recreation and Community Services Department
Vandy Vail Dickson
Vandy epitomizes the spirit of community. She co-chaired the Children's Arts Festival, A Season of Giving/Christmas Decatur, and worked on the Tour of Homes committee, serving as a house captain and volunteer recruiter. She has been involved in PTA, creating, organizing and maintaining a parent volunteer database, heads the Glennwood PTO Transition Team, and served for two years as the vice chair of the Decatur School Board Communications committee. She is an active volunteer with the Oakhurst Community Garden Project and an active member of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association. Nominated by: Julie Rhame, Sally Wylde, Lee Ann Harvey
Patti and Gary Garrett
Patti served as the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association co-secretary, co-chaired the Welcome Committee and was liaison with the Oakhurst Art & Music Festival committee. Patti and Gary deliver the monthly Oakhurst Leaflet on four delivery routes each month and opened their home to the Tour of Homes. Patti now chairs the Tour of Homes committee. Patti and Gary served as house captains for the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project in 2004, and in 2005 Patti will chair the expanded Food committee. Patti volunteers as a tutor at Oakhurst Elementary, Gary volunteers for the Georgia Radio Reading Service, and they are active in Oakhurst PTA, even though their kids are grown. Gary serves on the Waste Management Advisory Board and they are both active members of Decatur First United Methodist Church. Nominated by: Phyllis Gilbert, Julie Rhame, Lee Ann Harvey
Edith retired in 2004 after completing more than four decades of valuable service with the CDC. Her office was located in downtown Decatur. Throughout her career Edith was an exceptional coworker, role model and mentor to hundreds of public health professionals and students and has been recognized with numerous awards. Edith has been loyal, dedicated and committed to her service to Decatur residents as a member and chair of the Board of Education and president of the Georgia School Board Association. Nominated by: Hugh Saxon
Kay served as the president of the Glennwood Estates Neighborhood Association (GENA) for three years, but served on the board for nine years. She has headed the Social committee, worked on setting up a Neighborhood Watch, and represented the association with the Neighborhood Alliance. She coordinates GENA's efforts with A Season of Giving/Christmas Decatur and annually works together to provide holiday gifts for 25 low-income children. She has been a volunteer tutor and worked with students on a weekly basis. Nominated by: Neil Norton, Lee Ann Harvey
Danny is a graduate of the Decatur Citizens Policy Academy and Leadership DeKalb. He is passionate about environmental issues, is a volunteer for Trees Atlanta, and serves as president of Friends of Oakhurst Green Space, a grassroots neighborhood environmental organization dedicated to the preservation of green space and wildlife habitat in the Oakhurst neighborhood. He is active in the Democratic Party where he serves as treasurer and co-chair of House District 56 as well as chair of the Legislative committee. He was awarded the 2003 DeKalb Democrat Volunteer of the Year. Nominated by: Harry Rezzemini
A former Decatur firefighter, Major began volunteering at the Oakhurst Recovery Program many years ago. He was so faithful and good at serving the needs of the men there that today he is the full-time director. The Oakhurst Recovery Program takes homeless alcoholics and drug addicts off the streets and, after an intensive, long-term process, returns them to society as clean and sober, working, tax-paying citizens. Major has played a pivotal role in the lives and recovery of many men. Nominated by: Daniel Page, Carol Burgess, Kathy Culpepper
Patrick serves as the president of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Organization (ONA), and under his leadership ONA has grown significantly. He has also served as treasurer and co-president and has been instrumental in getting the annual Oakhurst 5K run "on its feet." He was the primary advocate for sponsoring the first St. Patrick's Day 5K in 2003. In 2002 ONA undertook a strategic planning exercise and by agreeing to serve as president in 2003, Patrick ensured an element of continuity that was crucial. Nominated by: Phyllis Gilbert
Elizabeth organized two community Yard Sales whose proceeds helped defray tax payments for elderly residents. She called on the elderly residents to help educate them about the different programs available to senior citizens, including tax payment plans, reverse mortgages and homestead exemptions. She worked with the Decatur Preservation Alliance to set up the first Martin Luther King Jr. Work Day two years ago. As chair of the South Decatur Community Development Corporation, she has stayed in involved with their efforts to help South Decatur businesses in a variety of ways, including chairing the most recent Oakhurst Arts & Music Festival. She chairs the city's Black History Month celebration every year, and has since its inception in 1995. Nominated by: Kecia Cunningham
Kimberly and Brian Zwaagstra
Kimberly and Brian helped launch the Oakhurst Leaflet newsletter. Kimberly obtained bids and negotiated an arrangement with a local printer, and tackled the issue of circulation. She set up a spreadsheet and recruited volunteers to deliver the newsletter. Kimberly and Brian collect the newsletters, count and bundle them by route so that the volunteers can pick them up for distribution. They manage the volunteers it takes to distribute all 2,200 issues each month. Since April 2004 Kimberly and Brian have also produced each issue, including managing the advertising. Brian also serves as the ONA Webmaster, keeping site content updated weekly, including links to other organizations, activities and events around the Decatur community. Nominated by: Julie Rhame and Phyllis Gilbert
GMA Receives Special Hometown Hero Award
The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) received a special Hometown Hero award for its work on behalf of the City of Decatur and other municipalities. Mayor Bill Floyd said that for the past several years GMA staff members have assisted Decatur and other cities in DeKalb County in extraordinary ways. Ted Baggett, Susan Pruitt and Lou Comer accepted the award on behalf of GMA.