Published: Jul 31, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jul 30, 2012 12:43 PM
After a two-year hiatus, the InterNeighborhood Council is reviving its Neighborhood Heroes awards and taking nominations through the end of August.
“Most of us agree that it is really important to recognize people who put a lot of effort into their neighborhoods, and never get any recognition,” ” INC President John Martin said.
From 2003 through 2009, the INC recognized more than 100 people nominated by their neighbors or others familiar with their unpaid roles as organizers, preservers and Good Samaritans in general.
Past recipients include Alice Walker, who organized the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood’s first Fourth of July Parade, in 1950; Norman Moore, who used his motorized wheelchair to look after elderly neighbors and his riding lawnmower to keep their lawns neat even though he was disabled; and Jerry Phelps, who suffered from emphysema but ripped off his oxygen mask and rushed outside to aid a 90-year-old neighbor who had just been mugged.
“There was not a dry eye in the house,” said former INC President Bill Anderson, who has usually emceed the award ceremonies.
The InterNeighborhood Council was organized in 1984, and generally concerns itself with matters of local interest such as zoning, land use, permitting, public safety, street conditions and parks.
“A lot of the stuff we attend to is boring in a lot of people’s books,” Anderson said. Besides recognizing deserving Durham citizens, the Neighborhood Hero awards were created “to increase INC’s exposure.”
The first year, 11 Heroes were honored in a ceremony at a private club. Organizers expected the honorees and a few friends to show up, but the room was overflowing.
“We had a tiger by the tail,” Anderson said. The next year, the ceremony moved to the Washington Duke Inn, and again the crowd outran expectation and preparations.
The Neighborhood Hero Awards had become a major annual event, drawing not just friends, neighbors and INC delegates, but the civic establishment for whom it was important to see and be seen.
“The awards ceremony is a fun party,” Martin said. “And these Neighborhood Heroes deserve that, too.”
Anyone may make a nomination. Submit to INC of Durham, 762 Ninth St. #700, Durham 27705; or email@example.com