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: 1980-2019.
We received many nominations of Middleton residents who have made such wonderful contributions to our community, so it was not an easy task to select our 2020 award winners. Congratulations and thank you to those selected this year!
Bartlett Durand – When Covid-19 began to disrupt our lives, Bartlett organized the Good Neighbor Hub as a way for community members to get and give help. He was concerned that Middleton residents may not know their neighbors well enough to look after them in a time of unprecedented need, so he created the hub to be a clearinghouse for information and to connect people needing help with volunteers and community resources. Through this network of connections, Bartlett leads regular Good Neighbor Hub Community Briefings, an online video conference which brings together community, city, business, school, and public health leaders to address and discuss the pandemic response.
Some examples of the way the Good Neighbor Hub has helped our community:
- Middleton area residents who couldn’t get to MOM because transit was shut down found helpers who could pick up food packages and deliver them.
- People who couldn’t get to grocery stores because of being immuno-compromised were matched with volunteers who could shop for them.
- A homeless man who couldn’t get shoes when MOM’s clothing center and thrift shops were closed received offers of dozens of pairs of shoes, thereby allowing him to continue to work.
Bartlett has also been an active Scout leader, an environmental steward, and columnist in the Middleton Times-Tribune, where he writes about topics intended to unite us and to feel pride in our community and support for our neighbors.
Adrienne Hulburt-Stroud – Adrienne made her dream of creating a community-oriented business and gathering place into a reality through an astonishing amount of hard work and perseverance. Upon opening in 2018, Common Ground was much more than a restaurant. It was where fiction writers held Meetups, local musicians entertained in the friendliest atmosphere imaginable, families spent time in a child-friendly setting, and a local radio program broadcast live each week. The food was delicious, the staff attentive and helpful, the setting inviting, and the positive spirit of the place palpable.
Common Ground was home to a monthly Memory Café that created a welcoming environment for people with cognitive delays. Madison Jazz Jam established its home base there, and provided biweekly performances. And the establishment hosted regular meetings of the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, political events, and various guest speakers.
The enviable reputation of the business was continuing to spread when the pandemic brought financial hardships that couldn’t be survived. Adrienne’s nominator wrote, “We musicians, writers and patrons who had the pleasure of performing, meeting and dining in Common Ground miss the experience greatly.”
Adrienne continues to serve on the board of the Wisconsin Writers Association, and she is exploring opportunities to have writing and wellness retreats in a more rural setting. She wants to “help however I can” and appreciates the connections she has made as she plans her next venture and provides ways for people to come together.
Josh Marron – Josh has been an active member of the Middleton and Greater Madison Community for over 20 years. Currently serving in the role of Chief Banking Officer with Park Bank, he also worked diligently at Middleton Community Bank.
Outside of work, Josh has contributed his time and efforts to many community organizations, often in leadership roles. These groups include the Middleton Jaycees, Middleton Community Endowment, Salvation Army of Dane County, 100 Men of Dane County, the YMCA, and the Middleton Chamber of Commerce (serving as president in 2016). He also served as a Good Neighbor Festival trustee for a decade, serving as the organization’s treasurer.
Josh has received two “40 Under 40 Awards”—one from InBusiness Greater Madison in 2016 and the Independent Community Bankers of America in 2020.
Through his work and volunteerism, Josh has graciously helped hundreds of neighbors and businesses succeed. His “get it done attitude” has shaped the course of our great community and his ongoing efforts continue to improve the quality of living in Middleton.
Jeff and Jan Martin – Jeff and Jan are the epitome of good neighbors! In addition to lending helping hands in their immediate neighborhood, they are significant forces in the greater Middleton Community.
The Martins’ neighbors have all been recipients of their generosity, as Jan and Jeff share gifts of garden plants, summer produce, and baked goods, and they assist with lawn mowing, snow shoveling, vacation plant-tending, sawing of downed limbs, and construction/repair projects. They have also kept in touch with former neighbors, helping them move and assisting them later through illnesses and life’s transitions.
Both Jeff and Jan have been long-time members of the Middleton Area Historical Society–Jeff as Board member since 2014 / President since 2016, and Jan as an energetic member of the Grounds Committee and Coordinator of School Tours. They have been actively involved in many projects that make the Society’s archives much more accessible to the public, helping to more than double visitor traffic to the Rowley House. They have conducted school tours for hundreds of children per year, thereby increasing the younger generations’ appreciation of Middleton’s back-story.
Jan served as Executive Director of the Middleton Chamber of Commerce from 1986 until 1999, during a period of significant change in Middleton. For decades, Jan has been active in organizations that contribute to the broader community by raising money for college scholarships, planting flower bulbs at the Allen Centennial Garden, sewing many hundreds of scarves for UW Hospital cancer patients and, more recently, sewing COVID masks.
As an avid photographer, Jeff has expertly captured Middleton-area natural and built landmarks, new business openings, and local events (including the Good Neighbor Festival). He has contributed hundreds of photos to the Middleton Times-Tribune and the Middleton Review, as well as to Middleton Area Historical Society publications. Jeff serves as Chair of the city’s Landmarks Commission, a role that will further contribute to the preservation of Middleton’s past while enhancing its present.
Both Jeff and Jan are also Friends of Pheasant Branch and helped to clean the creek corridor following the disastrous 2018 flood. Their hands-on involvement in our community exemplifies their commitment to their fellow citizens and has truly contributed to Middleton’s reputation as the Good Neighbor City.
Stephanie Mueller – Since moving to Middleton 18 years ago, Stephanie has been involved in many roles that have improved our community. As her nominator noted, she doesn’t do it for the spotlight–in fact, she tries to avoid it as much as possible. But her kindness, skills, and work ethic improve every organization she touches.
Stephanie’s contributions include being active in Boy Scout Troop 940 for nine years and Girl Scout Troop 102 for three years, serving as treasurer for both; helping with the Middleton High School Band; serving as a Council member, Sunday School teacher, mission trip leader, and food program volunteer with West Middleton Lutheran Church; and serving as a Good Neighbor Festival trustee and treasurer.
Over nine years ago, Stephanie helped found the MCPASD Education Foundation, and served in the capacity of a Board member and treasurer for many years. She was a driving force behind the decision of the Foundation to join the Good Neighbor Festival as a Trustee Organization. She also played a significant role in connecting the Foundation and the Weekend Food Program together, and expanding fundraising and services in response to the pandemic. These organizations had to completely change how it acquired, packed, and distributed food for school-aged kids, but as Stephanie notes, “now we feel the entire community is behind that effort.”
She is a managing partner with Monarch Insurance Services, and (until Covid) was a regular improv comic performer at Monkey Business Institute.