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 Decatur Salutes 2007 Hometown Heroes
 2007 Hometown Heroes

Laura Bevins – Laura Bevins has served as the volunteer treasurer for the Decatur Business Association (DBA) for several years. She has used her time and talent to completely organize the DBA books, putting a system in place that allows the organization to track revenue and expenses accurately and easily. The DBA has grown from 100 members to 400 members since Laura began as Treasurer. When the DBA offered to pay her to do the work, she said she preferred to do the job on a volunteer basis. She has been an
Hometown Heroes Decatur Book Festival 
The Decatur Book Festival executive board was recognized for its contributions to the community: Tom Bell, Linda Harris, Richard Lenz, Alice Murray, Bill Starr, Judy Turner and Daren Wang.
integral part of the community volunteering for school committees and serving as the Westchester PTA treasurer. Laura helped Christmas Decatur get started and she has been an active volunteer with Decatur City Dance. Nominated by Lynn Pasqualetti and Linda Harris.

Nick Farley – Nick has become an integral part in the success of some of Decatur’s largest events. He has become the official “troubleshooter” at events and makes sure that problems are solved. Even though Nick is still in high school, he is often asked to supervise volunteers who are much older. Nick has assisted with supervising the set up of the Beach Party for two years and has proved himself invaluable during the Arts Festival and the Book Festival volunteering for five or six hours each day during the two day festivals. Nick has made Decatur a better place because he has become a trusted member of the special event team. Festivals utilize hundreds of volunteers who have specific jobs. Nick is the one everyone turns to when there is an unfilled job or an unplanned void. His analytical thinking helps him to resolve problems while they are small. Nominated by Lee Ann Harvey and Cheryl Burnette.

Michael Gaertner – Michael is a great friend, neighbor, and true civic leader. He is always prepared to lend a helping hand whether it is working in the January cold doing repairs on senior citizens’ homes as a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project, building a shed in a friend’s backyard, or helping a neighbor get her new business open by painting all weekend long. He is actively involved in the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association (ONA) and currently serves as President. He helped form OWLS (Oakhurst Watch Local Safety) committee which has been instrumental in decreasing the crime rate in the Oakhurst Neighborhood by increasing community awareness and promoting cooperation between citizens and the police. He never leaves a job unfinished and always leaves every situation better than he found it. When Michael is aware of a need, he will do whatever is necessary to meet the need. Nominated by Vandy Vail-Dickson and Juanchella Grooms Francis.

Earnest Golding – Earnest Golding was born and grew up in Decatur, graduating with honors from Decatur Boys High in 1938. For many years Earnest has worked untiringly to make Decatur a better place for all citizens. He was instrumental in forming the Westchester Neighborhood Association which took the lead in providing money and muscle to create and maintain the community garden and park behind Westchester Elementary. After he retired, he began volunteering with DEAM (Decatur-area Emergency Assistance Ministry) screening clients for 7 years until becoming the DEAM grocery shopper. For 16 years, at least once a week, and often twice, he has checked the food pantry to see which items are needed, shopped at the grocery store for the items, and unloaded them and placed them on the pantry shelves. This quiet DEAM “shopper extraordinaire,” with his love for the community and his steadfast spirit of helping those in need, embodies the traits of a hometown hero. Nominated by Sacra Vaughan.

Rob Gordick – Rob has been a House Captain for Decatur’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project for the past three years. He is responsible for meeting with the homeowner, developing a work scope, developing a supply list, determining the number of volunteers required, scheduling professional tradespeople as needed, and supervising the volunteers during the project weekend. What sets Rob apart from many of the other House Captains is the fact that he has been assisting these elderly neighbors on his own for several years. Rarely do you see family members who look after their senior parents as closely as Rob looks out for these neighbors. Our senior citizens help Decatur maintain its rich diversity. If each senior citizen had a neighbor such as Rob, they would live healthier and safer and be better able to stay in their own homes. Nominated by Lee Ann Harvey.

David F. Hale – David was one of the first volunteers to help launch the annual Martin Luther King work day. David was assigned a home that had no electricity, no heat, no water and the one-day project turned into a multi-year commitment for David. He enlisted the help of his church, his friends, and a Hands On Atlanta crew to repair and renovate the home. David has been a steady volunteer at numerous organizations that serve the homeless. He has volunteered both as an overnight host and meal coordinator at Hagar’s House for years. He is involved now in helping with an expansion at Our House where he has served on the board for several years. He is an architect and he donates his professional services to keep the costs down on the construction for the shelter addition. He is the quiet one, the listener, the doer. He is truly an exemplary human being who serves others without the need for thanks or praise. Nominated by Martha Clinkscales and Robert Soens.

Jeanne Johnson – Jeanne scheduled and managed the volunteers at the Decatur Garden Tour for three years. She spent countless hours communicating with and supervising volunteers at multiple gardens during the two-day tour. She co-chaired the Entry Gate subcommittee of the Decatur Beach Party for three years. She has volunteered at the Decatur Book Festival since its inception two years ago. This festival has garnered national publicity and become a showcase for Decatur. Therefore it was crucial to have well managed volunteers. Jeanne’s pleasant manner helps resolve any misunderstandings that might arise and makes all volunteers feel valued. Jeanne has also utilized her gardening expertise to help plan the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project. She assessed each garden and developed a plan to remove invasive plants, trim plants and rake. Jeanne is always eager to donate her talents and expertise. She brings every event she works on to a new level of professionalism. Her friendly nature enables volunteers to feel confident and competent in their tasks. Nominated by Lee Ann Harvey.

Jack Krost – Jack has made Decatur a better place to live primarily by engaging residents in aspects of its history they may not have known. His spirited articles and activities related to Oakhurst history and Commodore Stephen Decatur have made significant contributions to our quality of life. Much of Oakhurst’s history was not known to its residents, Decatur’s residents, and Atlanta residents until Jack began publishing articles that chronicled its Civil War roots and beyond. He led the effort to develop Oakhurst’s tagline, “Putting Down Roots Together.” Jack researched and developed information for, and has led walking tours on the Mysteries of Oakhurst for five years. He arranged for the production of a VHS tape and DVD of the tour in 2004 in partnership with a local video artist. He has poured his talents and interests in history and journalism and brought positive attention to both Decatur and Oakhurst as outstanding and diverse communities in which to live, work, contribute and share in life with neighbors. Nominated by Melissa Krost.

Douglas Neal Stark – Doug is in charge of medical dispatch for Decatur Presbyterian Church, providing or arranging rides for those who do not drive to doctor’s appointments, frequently taking those elderly people himself. He is in charge of the Angel Tree for Decatur Presbyterian which provides gifts for Christmas Decatur/A Season of Giving for children and seniors. Doug was an active parent when his daughter attended and graduated from City Schools of Decatur. He did much of the arranging for Decatur High trips abroad to Ireland and Germany. He has been a volunteer for work crews on Martin Luther King Day. He is not using a wheelchair and can no longer do that type of work, so for MLK day this year he drove around from work site to work site delivering water and lunches. Each time Decatur Presbyterian hosts Hagar’s House, Doug volunteers to provide dinner for the families. Nominated by Louise Stark.

Lea Whitfield – Lea is an enthusiastic volunteer and has served on neighborhood committees and works on a variety of projects throughout Decatur. She is concerned about the environment and in enhancing the look of her community. As part of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Beautification Committee, she has worked countless hours picking up trash in the neighborhood. She brings a special attention to detail to all that she does. She organized the ONA Thanksgiving potluck, has worked on the ONA Social committee for four years. Lea can be counted on to take a lead role in a project. She has taken the job of volunteer coordinator for the BBQ, Blues, and Bluegrass Festival for three years and volunteer coordinator for the Decatur Garden Tour in 2006. She has been involved with the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project. Lea makes Decatur a better place because she embodies the spirit of Decatur by building community through volunteerism. Nominated by Vandy Vail-Dickson, Jim Warren, Phyllis Gilbert, and Alvin McNeely.

Last updated: 3/9/2011 3:45:08 PM