10 Greene County Residents Recognized for Their Efforts to be an Engaged Neighbor

  • Published: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The University of Missouri Extension Greene County Extension Council is pleased to announce ten Greene County residents chosen for special recognition as neighbors.

Missourians from all walks of life celebrated the first Missouri Good Neighbor Week (Sept 28 – Oct. 4) by doing and reporting neighboring acts and nominating others as the most engaged neighbors in their respective counties.

MU Extension county councils statewide are doing county-level recognition. In Greene County, the local extension office will send each local award winner a check and award certificate.

The goal for the week had been to document 10,000 acts of neighboring. But instead, Missourians reported 12,594 acts of neighboring during Missouri Good Neighbor Week. Greene County had the most submissions, accounting for nearly 4,000 of the acts of neighboring.

"I love discussing these acts of neighboring. These are the stories that do not normally make the news but are the behaviors that are impactful to our own health, community, and democracy," said David Burton, community development specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

For the first time, participants could also nominate their neighbors as the most engaged neighbor in Missouri. By the end of the week, 18 Greene County residents had been nominated.

"The quality of the nominations exceeded our expectations which is why we could not narrow them down to just the top three statewide," said Burton. "We actually ended up giving out more awards at the local level than we had planned because of the quality of the nominations."

The 2022 recipients of the Most Engaged Neighbor award in Greene County are as follows.

Outstanding Acts of Neighboring

·       Lyndal Scranton and Jerry Pendergrass of Springfield provide lawn care for eight low-income neighbors free of charge. Because of their wonderful big hearts, these men keep our block looking sharp all season long! This impacts 18 individuals.

·       Twenty-four residents of the new Owen Park Neighborhood Association in Republic donated $340, 80 pairs of socks, and 14 bags of groceries during the week for People Helping People, enough to create boxes for 30 families.

·       Westside Neighborhood Betterment Association of Springfield held a neighborhood event on Oct. 1 in the park featuring pizza and games. Candy Smith organized the event which had an attendance of 45 people.

·       Gordon-Chumbley organized an outdoor potluck/campfire for residents of her block of Kings Ave in Springfield on Oct. 1. The get-together had 23 in attendance and keeps the momentum going for other activities on this street.

·       Nicole and Jason Parke hosted a pancake party in their driveway on Oct. 1 as part of Missouri Good Neighbor Week. Thirty-two neighbors attended and enjoyed a coffee and pancake bar in their driveway.

Most Engaged Neighbor in Greene County

·       Judy Davis (Springfield, Mo.) – Judy is 84 years old, widowed, and the glue that holds the neighborhood together, according to her nominator. "Judy worked for weeks this summer organizing a sit-down dinner for all 13 families on our street. She has done this multiple times in years past. She is so loved by all." – Nominated by Sharon Schmitz

·       Liz Scoggins (Springfield, Mo.) -- Liz lives in the Weller Neighborhood, and even though her children are grown, she still volunteers at Weller Elementary. "In addition to serving others faithfully in the school, she is connected to her neighbors and always looking for ways to serve and help them. She is one of the most generous people I have met! Liz doesn't let her lack of financial resources keep her from blessing others. When others find excuses, she finds a way!" – Nominated by Nicole Parke

·       Sandi Huston (Springfield, Mo.) – Sandi is a member of the Westside Neighborhood Betterment Association (and past officer). She is an avid gardener and co-founder of the memorial garden at Zagonyi Park, which she maintains. Sandi keeps our neighborhood "little library" stocked, and she communicates regularly with her neighbors. Sandi is the neighbor everyone would like to have." – Nominated by Candy Smith   Springfield

·       Steven Stovall (Bois D'Arc, Mo.) -- I am a cancer patient, and I could not continue living on my horse farm if it were not for the kindness of my neighbor Steve. He mows my 2.5-acre yard, fenced the yard so I could let my dog out since I can no longer walk him on a leash, cares for my horses, fixes my gate when it breaks, checks on my well-being regularly, picks up medications in town and takes care of everything when I am away at the cancer center. "He has gone far beyond being a good neighbor. He and his wife have made it possible for me to be home and happy." -- Nominated by Joan Walker

·       Cindy and Ray Sullens (Battlefield, Mo.) -- My husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in January and has been in the hospital a lot this year. The day after he was diagnosed, my sweet neighbors (whom I had never met) offered to pick up my mail and take out my trash each week. They have shoveled our driveway, surprising us with acts of kindness. They have become like family. "They have been a lifesaver for my husband and me during the most difficult and the lowest point in our lives." – Nominated by Dr. Gwen J Burns

STATEWIDE AWARDS

There were also 17 statewide awards presented. Two of those went to Greene County residents.

·       Sharon Taylor Gullett of Springfield was recognized with the Best of Missouri Award for organizing a lantern walk in the Rountree neighborhood. Over 500 luminaries lined the neighborhood's sidewalk for one mile on Oct. 1.

·       Pamela S. Buhr of Springfield was recognized as one of Missouri's Most Engaged Neighbors for her efforts in the Brentwood Neighborhood Association and for hosting a connection cookout for her own immediate neighbors.

Missouri's Governor signed legislation HB1738 on July 1, 2022, establishing the special week.

The celebration began on Sept. 28, also National Good Neighbor Day (first created in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter). The week is jointly organized by University of Missouri Extension and the Hopeful Neighborhood Project.

MORE INFORMATION

Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in the closest proximity to you. Being a good neighbor offers tremendous health benefits, reduces crime, reduces loneliness, combats depression, improves communities, and improves the quality of life.

For more information contact David Burton, community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension by phone at (417) 881-8909 or by email at [email protected].

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Writer: David Burton

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