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Past Winners

Neighbor of the Year

Terry and Jerry Russell

Terry and Jerry Russell are a couple who truly put into practice kindness and hospitality. When a neighbor was ill, these two delivered delicious home-cooked meals and took care of her groceries. When a neighbor’s husband had knee surgery, these two mowed the neighbor’s lawn and helped keep the property well-maintained. When an elderly neighbor needed a ride to the doctor, they immediately volunteered to drive him there and wait to bring him home after his procedure. In the winter, they are the first to help shovel snow off their neighbors’ driveways.

Youth of the Year

Jordyn Equals

Jordyn Equals is a very kind, active, and involved member of the teen center at the Meridian Boys & Girls Club. As a member of that Club, she has contributed art to art galleries and has served as the president of the Keystone Club, which provides leadership development opportunities for teens. Jordyn recently earned her Boys & Girls Club Press Credentials, which means that she is able to act as an official photographer at any of the Club’s special events. As a youth leader, Jordyn has displayed a high level of kindness and compassion. She goes out of her way to include peers who may otherwise feel lonely or left out.

Senior of the Year

Iris Dawson

Iris Dawson is someone who goes above and beyond to keep her neighbors safe. For the past 18 years, Iris has personally led the charge to ensure that each of the 56 homes in her over-55 subdivision receives an annual smoke and carbon monoxide alarm sweep. She contacts each homeowner herself and puts together a map to help the Meridian Fire Department efficiently visit each home. Iris helps remind them to purchase batteries for their alarms, and purchases and replaces them herself if a neighbor isn’t able to do it on their own. On top of all that, she regularly helps her neighbors stay fit and healthy by visiting them.

Business of the Year

Stor-Mor Sheds

Stor-Mor Sheds has been a great community partner with the Meridian Police Department and specifically with the Department’s K9 Unit for many years. Their property provides great opportunities for the K9 unit to train in an indoor and outdoor environment, which helps keep police handlers’ and K9’s skills sharp and operating at a high level. This amazing partnership makes a real difference in keeping our community safe and our officers safe in the course of their duties. On top of that, this business was a generous donor of raffle prize items for a recent K9 Unit fundraiser. Their relationship with the Meridian Police Department is a shining example of what community policing and partnerships should look like.

Mayor's Star of the Year

September Frogley

September Frogley is someone who has transformed personal tragedy into a movement of compassion that has spread throughout not just our community, but the entire state and beyond. After losing her brother, this individual founded Connection is the Cure based on the belief that community connection can educate and offer support for our mental health and addictions. This group’s first event was a concert held in January 2022 at the Idaho Center, and it attracted more than 10,000 attendees from the area. Since then, September has overseen care package projects, chaired a mental wellness event for 700 youth from her church, and has created a second concert in Mesa, Arizona, with a third coming up in January 2023 at the Idaho Center.

Neighbor of the Year

Nominator Name: Christina Garcia
Nominee Name: Kelly Shafer

Kelly Shafer is one of those neighbors you just can’t live without—the ones who goes above and beyond to be welcoming, friendly, and supportive no matter what. Not only does she embody warmth and friendliness in her personality, but she also goes the extra mile to bring her neighbors together through regular social events. Kelly goes out of her way to help others in the community and is always ready to support you with a hand, a smile, or anything else you need.

Youth of the Year

Nominator Name: Sophie Robbins
Nominee Name: Audrey Thompson

Audrey Thompson works tirelessly to serve her community and to make Meridian a better place for her peers. She is the current Chair of Government Affairs for the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC), and just last week, she did a superb job of coordinating and hosting the MYAC Candidate Forum for the City Council Candidates. A phenomenal leader, she always follows through on her commitments, even when it means she has to keep a dozen plates spinning at once. For these reasons and more, Audrey Thompson is a shining light in the Meridian Community.

Senior of the Year

Nominator Name: Pam Orr
Nominee Name: Al Fleming

Al Fleming, also known as “Meridian’s Toymaker,” has been making toys for the Meridian Fire Department for over two decades. His donations were anonymous for most of that time, until a few years back when his identity was uncovered. Al funds and makes all the toys in his woodshop here in Meridian. He not only supplies toys for the Meridian Fire Benevolence program, but for the Meridian Police Department, The Boys and Girls Clubs, local hospitals, the Meridian Children’s Museum, and to many local and national charities. He has also supported the Light My Fire organization for many years with toys and table arrangements for their fundraising dinner and auction. Al Fleming is a rare find: thinking of others, donating his finances, time, and talent in caring for his community for many years without any recognition or fanfare.

Small Business of the Year

Nominator Name: Antonio Washington
Nominee Name: Gem State Developmental Center

Opened in 1983, Gem State Developmental Center is the first privately-owned and operated developmental disability agency in Idaho. The Center’s collaborative network of engaged parents and guardians, industry providers, and disability rights advocates help to promote a disability-friendly environment for all within Treasure Valley communities. Throughout the pandemic, Gem State Developmental Center was one of only a few disability agencies to remain open to continue providing vital services to clients. The Center provides life skills training to children and adults with developmental disabilities. For their exceptional commitment to serving those in need, the team at Gem State Developmental Center stand out as shining stars in Meridian.

Large Business of the Year

Nominator Name: Jeanette Sanchez
Nominee Name: Meridian Library District

During the period of lockdown and quarantine, the team of amazing employees at the Meridian Library District came together to think outside the box in very clever and innovative ways. They expanded their online options with books, magazines, movie rentals, and more. They offered classes online, like cooking, preschool song and dance, and reading time. They also developed a free-of-charge home delivery system which benefited our huge community by bringing the Library’s offerings directly to our homes. For going above and beyond in their service to our community, they deserve to be recognized as our Large Business of the Year.

Neighbor of the Year

Nominator Name: Erin Fox
Nominee Name: Paula Harlow

You know those neighbors that you just can’t seem to live without? Well, Paula Harlow is that neighbor to many. Paula was nominated by her neighbor and friend, Erin Fox for being a person who shines bright not only in Erin’s life, but the rest of the community! Paula engages with neighborhood youth, showering them with candy, prizes, and positivity.

Paula constantly seeks ways to help others during the pandemic. She offers vegetables from her garden and even spoils her four legged neighbors with walks around the neighborhood when their humans are at work or away. Paula exemplifies the neighbor we should all strive to be in our community with her willingness to always go above and beyond for those around her.

Youth of the Year

Nominator Name: Sophie & Chloe Robbins
Nominee Name: Hannah Chalon

Hannah has worked tirelessly to serve her community in the midst of school work and extra curriculars. Hannah has been an active member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, serving as a liaison between the Youth Council, the Mayor, and her peers. She has been an active voice for Meridian youth and even worked to pass legislation on behalf of MYAC.

Hannah volunteers for the community, and brings energy and positivity to Meridian each day. She is an exemplary student and is a hard worker in school and all of her endeavors. Hannah always follows through on her commitments, which often involve serving the people of Meridian. Just recently she took the position of Chair for the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, a position she will do well in.

Hannah’s knowledge of the community, passion for leadership, and love of helping others is an inspiration to those around her. Despite her tremendous workload of being an honor student and working, she is currently working towards finishing an associate’s degree during high school, and through it all, still she finds the time and energy to serve the community; for those reasons, Ms. Hannah Chalom deserves to be recognized as a ‘shining light’ in the community for her efforts.

Senior of the Year

Nominator Name: Chelsea Cantrell
Nominee Name: Eva Bailey

Eva volunteers at the City Hall front desk on Friday mornings. She definitely brings the Friday-Feelings to everyone with her ‘larger than life’ personality and puts a smile on everyone’s face. Eva volunteers to provide City Hall tours to 3rd grade classes and goes above and beyond to make it a special experience complete with a homemade costume. Eva really gets into character to keep the students engaged and learning all about City Hall and Meridian.

Eva also volunteers in the Mayor’s Office providing relief to the staff and helps the Parks and Recreation department with Christmas activities including the parade, Santa letters, shopping, and gift wrapping for kids in need.

Most recently, Eva, a published author herself, volunteered to teach residents about authoring and publishing books as part of Meridian Art Week.

For Eva, it really becomes more than just going somewhere and ‘killing some time’, she puts her heart and soul into leading the 3rd grade classes, putting those smiles on people’s faces, and ultimately serving and being a ‘star’ in the community.

Senior of the Year

Nominator Name: Chelsea Cantrell
Nominee Name: Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman volunteers for the City of Meridian in several capacities. He spends two days a week at City Hall greeting everyone who comes in the front doors. He is well known for his outgoing personality and described as a man “like no other”. Bill also volunteers at special events and is always the first to sign up when volunteer opportunities come available. Amongst his many volunteer duties, Bill also maintains the volunteer vehicle and helps keep the city cars washed.

Bill also serves as a Park Ambassador at Kleiner Park where he engages with the community and contributes to keeping the park immaculate! So if you ever see our dear friend, Bill going to community members and giving a friendly ‘hello’ be sure to say hi!

Small Business of the Year

Nominator Name: Michael Bevans
Nominee Name: Natalie Plummer

@HelloMeridian, a social media influencing business run by Natalie Plummer, does tremendous work for the community as a whole. During COVID pandemic Hello Meridian was instrumental in doing everything possible to help businesses stay open and make it through this difficult time. Natalie put in countless hours to keep others going both professionally and emotionally through her #CommunityOverCorona campaign.

Natalie uses Hello Meridian to promote other local businesses and organizations in the community, and is a champion in promoting the city and all of our programs and events that make Meridian the best place to live. Through Hello Meridian, Natalie also worked to get the Meridian Police department masks at the beginning of the pandemic, allowing officers to focus on their important work and helping them to keep the community safe. When she heard the Food Bank was getting low on supplies, due to the pandemic, Natalie organized a Treasure Valley wide food drive that brought in more in one day than most multi-day large business organized events.

Hello Meridian has made it their goal to preserve, maintain and improve the quality of life and safety in their neighborhoods, as well as the broader Meridian community and that is why they are the Small Business of the Year award winner. We encourage everyone to follow @hellomeridian on social media.

Large Business of the Year

Nominator Name: Neal Elliott
Nominee Name: Western States CAT

Western States CAT has always been a staple to our community and gives to local nonprofits in the area. Some of the major contributions that they make are to the Ronald McDonald House, and also to the Idaho Food Bank in Meridian. During the pandemic they have made it a goal and a major effort to increase the amount of volunteering in the community that comes from their company. Western States CAT has allowed employees to use working hours to volunteer in their community.

During the pandemic they Western States CAT made it a necessity to not only provide to those who are less fortunate, but also to encourage their employees to be an example in the community. For these reasons, Western States CAT is a fantastic choice for Large Business in the Year for what they have done, and what they will continue to do for the community.

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