The Good Neighbor Award recognizes individuals who make a difference in the Middleton community and who embody what it means to be a Good Neighbor. Nominees must be an individual person, they must not be a prior award winner, and 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: 1980-2020.
We are pleased to announce the 2021 Good Neighbor Award recipients: Jessica Anderson, Donna Bracey, Cindy Joers and Todd Passini! They will be honored during the Festival at the Good Neighbor Parade and in a ceremony on the Willy Street Co-op Main Stage at 3:30 PM on Sunday afternoon.
This year’s festival will also recognize the 2020 recipients who could not be honored in person last year: Bartlett Durand, Adrienne Hulburt-Stroud, Josh Marron, Jeff and Jan Martin and Stephanie Mueller.
As always, it was a very difficult task to choose this year’s recipients. Our community is so fortunate to have many wonderful good neighbors!
Jessica Anderson is the owner of local business Fleet Feet and serves the community in multiple ways by encouraging fitness for Middleton residents of all ages and abilities.
Since 2006, she has contributed significantly to the Good Neighbor Festival 5K Run/Walk, raising money for the Festival trustees and providing a great way for the community to come together. She has also been active as a volunteer for Northside Elementary’s run.walk.move program, has served on the Gilda’s Club Run/Walk committee and has volunteered as a coach for Girls on the Run.
Jessica has lived in Middleton for 17 years and enjoys everything about the community. She loves running through the Pheasant Branch Conservancy, and walking the trails with her family. She also likes to shop in downtown Middleton and eat at local restaurants.
Donna Bracey has been an example of a great neighbor throughout her life. Having gone into nursing at the age of 17, her love for other people has been a guiding force. She and her husband, Harry, have lived in Middleton for 44 years, and together they have raised nine kids.
Donna was nominated by her neighbor Lori Dahl-Tracy for volunteering to spend time with and help Lori’s sister Randi, who has special needs. Lori takes Randi to appointments, haircuts, shopping and out to lunch. She remembers Christmas, her birthday, and everything in between, always finding time for Randi.
As Lori put it, Donna has become not only a friend, but almost a second mother to them both. Lori is very proud to have Donna in their lives, and is someone she can truly call a friend. Her nomination put it perfectly: “she deserves this more than anyone I know.”
Cindy Joers has played a behind the scenes role in many great initiatives throughout her many years in the Good Neighbor City.
First, she has brought our community together around philanthropy. She is always thinking of how to help those in need. For many years, she has coordinated food and clothing drives for Middleton Outreach Ministry, Koats for Kids and The Big Bundle Up at her business, The Little Gym of Middleton. When her husband Bob Joers passed away earlier last year, she put together a scholarship fund in his name that has already benefited Middleton High School athletes in their college endeavors.
Cindy also works hard to promote Middleton’s entrepreneurial spirit. As a small business owner herself, she is always an advocate for Middleton’s fine establishments, such as providing promotions, giveaways, and donations to support local start-ups, non-profits, and small shops.
Last, but not least, Cindy helps connect local families with rescue dogs that need a home. As a volunteer for Diamond Dogs Rescue, many dogs now have a home in Middleton because she fosters them in her home until they are adopted.
Good Neighbors in our City come from all different walks of life. Cindy feels fortunate to live and work in such a vibrant community, where her children have grown up and now where her grandson lives!
Todd Passini is a lifelong resident of the Middleton area, graduating from MHS and UW-Stevens Point. He and his wife Aimee have four athletic kids, and Todd keeps busy all year long coaching hockey, baseball, football, lacrosse, and just about anything else his kids play. He also served in leadership roles on the commissions for those sports, as many say he is incapable of saying “no.” He has also been a member of the Home Talent baseball team for many years.
As a long-time member of the Middleton Lions Club, Todd serves as its membership chairman. He also founded the Club’s annual Drive Fore Sight golf outing 16 years ago and has chaired the event every year, raising thousands of dollars to support various Lion’s Club initiatives. Todd seems to know each one of the dozens of participants in the event, and if they weren’t friends before the event, they certainly are afterwards.
He also gives his time to St. Bernard Catholic Church, having served as Council President for several years.
Todd is the general manager of Harbor Athletic Club, where he knows and greets just about everyone who comes through the door. In this capacity he assists those in need, arranges and provides transportation, and is involved with whatever levels of therapy and training his members require.
Todd is always on the go with his hectic schedule, but finds time to lend a hand when asked.