The Good Neighbor Awards have been part of the Festival since 1980 and have been awarded to people of all ages and walks of life. The award has also been given to business, social service agencies and churches.
Four Middleton Good Neighbor Awards have been awarded!
Middleton is fortunate to have so many wonderful members of the community, that 4 Awards will be given this year.
Molly Duffy, Gary Gmur, Jennifer Broadley, and Scott and Deb Bram have all contributed significantly to our community.
Molly Duffy started the Middleton United Soccer program, which now has over 900 youth members. Duffy has a relationship with nearly every child and can be found on weekends going from game to game – and not just soccer – where she engages with each of the players so that they know she cares. To Duffy, guiding a young athlete is not about the game or the score, but about creating positive experiences, modeling good sportsmanship and mentoring children who care about those around them.
When not on a soccer field, Duffy is often working on the foundation that helps orphans in Haiti and which is building a school for 450 students. And yes, when in Haiti she’s playing soccer at the school!
Gary Gmur is an everyday hero to his neighbors, who say he exemplifies the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. Gmur, who is a father to two young teens, is also credited with helping raise the kids in his neighborhood. Gmur uses his handyman skills to help a neighbor build a patio, build playground equipment for another neighbor, mow another’s lawn when needed, and is the neighbor that helps on moving day and who is always keeping an eye out for his neighbors.
Thanks to Gmur’s neighborhood watch, he saved a house in his cul-de-sac from burning down. Gmur works for the Middleton Fire Department, but his saving the house was not part of his regular workday. He noticed a fire in the neighbor’s garage that was started by a grill. Gmur and another neighbor extinguished the fire, which could have easily destroyed the entire home due to nearby propane tanks and flammable items. Gmur’s quick thinking saved the house before the homeowners knew it was on fire.
Jennifer Broadley is the Aquatic Director at the Walter R. Bauman pool. Broadley has had an impact on nearly every family in Middleton that has passed through swim lessons at the Middleton Pool. Broadley goes beyond her job description to make the pool a truly neighborly place, and to encourage the best qualities in her lifeguards, teachers, staff, and students.
One example of Broadley’s care for our community is the extra work she put in to make sure that a young swimmer who developed a seizure disorder from a severe form of epilepsy at age seven would be able to participate with the swim team. Broadley coordinated communication between the Middleton Gator coaches, pool staff, the City of Middleton and the swimmer’s family to ensure the swimmer’s safety and her ability to continue to swim with the team. She assigned a guard to the child during practice and had the staff trained in seizure response and rescue. Even open swim sessions were accommodating for the swimmer. After the swimmer suffered additional setbacks, Broadley again stepped in to help make swim part of the child’s physical therapy. In this and other situations, Broadley has shown a commitment to ensure that all neighbors, including those with disabilities, are able to fully participate at the pool.
Scott and Deb Bram have spent decades entertaining the children of Middleton on Halloween night by turning their yard into a haunted forest. Hundreds of kids from all over the city come to their home on Wood Road to experience the spooky spectacular. The Brams and their kids dress up as all manner of frightening creatures; a son walks the grounds as a 10-foot tall grim reaper, Scott is usually manning a macabre grill, and Deb is the witch at the front door with full size candy bars for the brave souls that can muster the courage to make it all the way through the haunted path. Neighborhood kids who’ve outgrown trick or treating are recruited to dress up in scary costumes and hide in the shadows or lie in wait in a creepy casket. The Brams begin working on their haunted yard in early October, and all of it is done at their own expense.
Look for the 2018 Middleton Good Neighbor Award winners in the Festival Parade on Sunday. If you happen to see them around town, please take the time to thank them for all that they do to make Middleton the Good Neighbor City.