The Good Neighbor Award recognizes an individual, or individuals, who make a difference in the Middleton community and who embody what it means to be a Good Neighbor. Nominees must reside in Middleton.
The Good Neighbor Award has been part of the Festival since 1980, and has been awarded to people of all ages and walks of life. See a list of all past winners here: Good Neighbor Award Winners: 1980-2018
Congratulations to 2019 Good Neighbor Award winners Paul Braun, Tom Gilbert, Perry Hibner, and Mathiam Mbow! Read their stories below.
Paul Braun created an organization that uses drones to help children with autism calledTaking Autism to the Sky, Inc. – TATTS. TATTS helps children with autism to develop social and employment skills by teaching them to build and fly drones. Paul’s innovative ideas have clearly made a difference for many autistic children and their families. Paul also serves the community in other ways, including as a former member of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District’s Facilities Committee.
Tom Gilbert serves the community as an Eagle Rank Advisor for BSA Troop 140 Middleton. He has mentored more than 80 Middleton youth and helped them reach their goals to become Eagle Scouts. Under his guidance, they learned to develop their scouting skills and balance the demands of a teenage life. Tom also volunteers with Middleton Outreach Ministry, and with the Crisis/Restoration Center and the Justice System Reform Initiative, helping people released from jail re-establish their lives and creating paths for success. Tom’s leadership brings out the best in others and helps the Middleton Community continue to thrive.
Perry Hibner is the Director of Communications for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, Perry has been an amazing resource in solidifying the School District’s relationship with the community. He has a passion for cultivating relationships among district staff, administrators, students, and parents. He represents the MCPASD with respect, integrity and excitement and celebrates the success of our school district and students. He is involved in the community, serving as a Board Member of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Education Foundation and the Middleton Endowment. He also serves as an usher and reader at St Bernard Catholic Church. Perry has worn many different hats over the last 20 years as a volunteer, coach, parent, committee member, director and more and has played all of these roles with great passion for the Middleton Community.
Mathiam Mbow is the owner and instructor of Silver Lining Taekwon-do in Middleton and East Madison, and teaches martial arts to children and adults, but he also teaches them what it means to be a good person, to give back and to always accept others for who they are. He encourages his students to be respectful, hard-working and kind. He promotes being your best and giving back to the community — and sets a good example for the many who look up to him. Many parents have said that they consider him an extension of their family. Mathiam also serves the community, teaching many free Self Defense Clinics to women and MHS students. He is a former Board member of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Education Foundation and contributes to charity events for Madison’s Dane County RCC and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. Mathiam arrived in Madison in the late 1990s from Senegal, West Africa with a scholarship to study English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he shares his experiences by speaking frequently on diversity and acceptance of all individuals. Mathiam does more than just teach Taekwon-do, he teaches and discusses life lessons and qualities of a good person. He is able to connect with a wide range of ages from young toddlers to older adults.