Neighborhood Builders Awards Honors 12 Individuals and Organizations

December 13, 2023
Neighborhood & Community Services
Karen Foley - 270-393-3674
Bowling Green, KY
Neighborhood Builders Awards Honors 12 Individuals and Organizations

The Department of Neighborhood & Community Services honored twelve deserving nominees when it held its 21st Neighborhood Builders Banquet for the first time since 2019.

The 21st Neighborhood Builders Award Presented 20 November 2023

Mortar Award: awarded to someone who lends cohesion and strength to a neighborhood through dedicated and diligent work behind the scenes

Presented to Scott Huff, Crestmoor Neighborhood. From his nomination: “Scott is very generous offering to lend tools or other household items when neighbors are in need. He is generous not just to our neighbors in Crestmoor, but to the youth at Bowling Green High School and beyond.”

Presented to George Gootee & Woodrow Wilson, Beddington Park Neighborhood From their nominations: “George has helped bring our 25-home neighborhood together with summer and autumn get-togethers. Our meals with our neighbors help grow our closeness and dependence on each other… Woodrow constantly goes out of his way to assist neighbors who need a helping hand in any way he can - taking garbage containers to the curb and taking them back to the house for those who need help, picking up limbs for neighbors yards who aren't able to do so, taking food to those who may need it due to sickness, letting people use a generator if they've lost power, and countless other ways.” 

Blueprint Award: awarded to a neighborhood leader who demonstrates outstanding vision, planning, and follow-through in enriching not just their own neighborhood, but others as well.

Presented to Shalana Beasley Page. From her nomination: “Shalana is constantly advocating to create a more inclusive and accessible community for her daughter and is actively involved assisting BGPR Staff in creating and implementing the adaptive sports program. In addition, she is the leader behind the Shake Rag Festival celebrating the culture, history, and importance of the Shake Rag District to Bowling Green and Warren County.”  

Presented to Clara Verst, Re-Tree BG. From her nomination: “Clara saw a real need in our community post-tornado and took action to do something about it. That is the mark of a Builder! Our neighborhood and other tornado damaged areas will be more beautiful in the future because of the work of Re-Tree BG.”

Groundbreaking Award: awarded to a neighbor or organization that leads a particularly unique, outstanding and unprecedented local community endeavor.

Presented to Bowling Green Rock Band Academy. From the nomination: “From private lessons to semesters, to live performances, the staff at Rock Band Academy radiate community. In the future, the students who work tirelessly under that roof will be the local artists who keep the music scene of Bowling Green thriving.” Located on Old Morgantown Road in the heart of our Forest Park neighborhood, Bowling Green Rock Academy and Matt Devore are cultivating a culture of inclusion and home-grown musicianship for the future. 

Foundation Award: *new in 2023* awarded to neighbors whose exceptional service and care for others provide stabilization and security, laying a solid foundation upon which future generations may succeed.

Presented to Ryan & Bonita Dearbone. From their nomination: “They are hands down the most amazing couple I know. He is a former WBKO anchor, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, a deacon at State St Baptist Church and teaches at WKU. His efforts to improve the local community are well documented. She is “active” in the fitness community, volunteering her time for almost every local run including the marathon and also teaching a free fitness course Monday evenings. During last year’s Emmett Till protests, a quote by Ryan in a Daily News article helped calm some of the uneasiness going on around town at the time. I honestly don’t know how they do it.” 

Presented to Daniel & Alice Tarnagda, Refuge BG. From their nomination: “The way Refuge BG stepped up following the Dec 11th tornadoes was awe inspiring. Their work was integral to restoring to wholeness members of our community for whom English was not their primary language and/or were not originally from this country. Without their efforts in the aftermath and doing case management during long-term recovery, we likely would have lost a significant portion of this important population in our community.” 

Pillar Award: awarded to an anchoring business or organization that enhances the appearance and vitality of a neighborhood with a high standard of upkeep and service to the community

Presented to La Luz Del Mundo Church. From the nomination: “The church has been a pivotal agent of revitalization for the West End Neighborhood. They have physically improved the exterior appearances of their facilities and continue to look for ways to improve the overall look of the neighborhood… A great number of the congregants are neighbors themselves, owning and renting property in the neighborhood… From COVID testing and vaccination clinics, helping with the 2020 Census, tenant’s rights workshops and the first culturally appropriate local food bank for Feeding America, and more, there is no ask that is too big. They have care for their neighbors without asking for anything in return and give the very best of themselves to their community.” 

Presented to George Washington Carver Center. From the nomination: “Since 1946, they have been an important civic organization caring for children and families, through very dark and hard times, including relocations and upheavals that moved families and organizations from one location to another, through fights for civil rights, through so many more historic milestones, both triumphant and tragic. Through hardship, they have remained steadfast advocates for the wellbeing of the families they serve and also torch-bearers for the history and legacy of Shake Rag. Dedicated to promoting good citizenship, the Center assists with voter registration, provides tutoring for children, offers community meetings, and provides education on the historical significance of the Shake Rag area through events and tours of their historical collection.” 

Cornerstone Award: awarded to a neighborhood leader who serves as a catalyst and motivator in recruiting others to participate in meeting neighborhood or community challenges

Presented to Johnalma Barnett. From the nominations: As a leader she has organized and coordinated a monthly food distribution through Feeding America that serves over 1,000 households. As a volunteer, she has rarely missed the opportunity to shop with folks at First Christian Church's Community Grocery Store. As a neighborhood representative, she has walked the streets of Bowling Green's West End, trying to better understand the needs of those who live and work in her city. She is a model neighbor to all. Her "neighborhood" is the entire City of Bowling Green. On any given day or weekend, you can find her engaged in community service, often walking on foot and handing out important community information, giving out sandwiches, blankets, and clothing to the unhoused, hosting outreach events with local community organizations and just being a helpful presence whenever there is a need. Her spirit of service knows no bounds. She truly cares about and seeks to know her neighbors for who they are and the value they bring as individuals.” 

Model Neighborhood Award: awarded to a neighborhood that has achieved a model level of community spirit, cooperation, and communication as a vital neighborhood in Bowling Green

Presented to Delafield Neighborhood Group led by Joyce Tann and Anna Beason. From the nomination: “This is a small group of neighbors in the Delafield neighborhood, under the leadership of residents, Anna Beason and Joyce Tann. Anna’s long-term residency and historical knowledge of Delafield, coupled with her leadership experience in other organizations, elevated her voice in the group. Joyce grew up in BG and returned to the Delafield neighborhood approximately 15 years ago. Joyce is full of energy and enthusiasm for progress and change. Joyce (as Chair) and Anna (as Recorder) have led the group as they focused their efforts on improving the neighborhood by engaging in activities that facilitate neighbor relations, neighborhood aesthetics, safety, food access, and overall desirability of the neighborhood. They have used their voice to address concerns by organizing meetings with local city & county leadership, with BGMU, and by organizing a candidate forum. They have facilitated neighborhood engagement and communication through an annual fall event and a quarterly newsletter promoting neighborhood resources and activities. They applied for and received a Flexible Neighborhood Grant for some of their initiatives. And they will tell you they feel happier and safer in their community after building relationships with neighbors they might not have met otherwise. Their love for Delafield is contagious, and it is spreading. Together, the Delafield Neighborhood Group is making Delafield and Bowling Green better. The Delafield Neighborhood Group epitomizes the idea of a Neighborhood Builder.

The Neighborhood Builders Awards were first presented by the Neighborhoods Office of the City in Bowling Green in 2000. They have been presented annually each year except 2020-2022 due to the pandemic and tornado recovery. For more information about the awards or other neighborhood programming, contact the Neighborhoods Division at or call 270-393-3444.


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