Fleming, who won the Environmental Change Award, was a strong green advocate long before it became fashionable. He founded the community garden on Rainbow Drive in 1995, in memory of his only sister, Kelly, whose murder in 1987 is still unsolved. Fleming promotes organic gardening and healthy eating.
The Community for Better Health Award went to Jyotsna Blackwell, program manager for the DeKalb Board of Health’s Office of Chronic Disease Prevention. She was honored for her work empowering individuals, communities and organizations to improve their health.
Charlotte Booth and Wanda Moore of the Henderson Estates Neighborhood Association won the Neighborhood Empowerment Award for their work in the Volunteers in Patrol program.
Clarkston High School senior Jalisia Taylor-Singleton got the Youth Volunteer Award for her volunteer work with Youth Leadership DeKalb, her school, the DeKalb School Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, and the Clarkston Community Refugee Center.
Beverly O. Cochran Jr. of the United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur and Mary Raterman, a newborn foster mother with An Open Door Adoption Agency, shared the Community Service Award. The Youth Volunteer Organization Award went to Tucker High School’s Habitat for Humanity campus chapter.
The awards, which were given during National County Government Month, were established by Ellis to recognize individuals and organizations making a significant impact in the community.
Ellis, who plans to make the awards an annual event, said community service is one of the most effective ways citizens can contribute to the well-being of their neighborhoods, but that the work so often goes unnoticed.
“It may seem like what you do is small, but to many, it makes a big difference,” he said before handing out the awards. “To those individuals whose lives you touch with your gift of service, you are truly heroes. For those organizations, including DeKalb County, whose service you supplement with your acts of kindness, you are truly heroes. To us, who honor you here today, you are truly heroes.”
The recipients were among those nominated in March by the public. The winners were picked by a selection committee.