HRC Announces Good Neighbors of the Year

The Wake Forest Human Relations Council (HRC) is pleased to announce Norma Bennekin and Connie and Herman Cole as the adult co-winners of the 2015 Good Neighbor of the Year Award. Mayor Vivian Jones made the announcements during Sunday’s Good Neighbor Day at Holding Park.

Bennekin was nominated by J. Loraine Smith who wrote in her nomination narrative that Bennekin is a good neighbor because of her volunteer efforts throughout Wake Forest community and the East End community. According to Smith, Bennekin has served “countless hours in the Hope House food ministry, the Read and Feed Program, the Back Pack School Supply giveaway and she coordinates the Hope House Angel Tree Program.

“Her efforts impacted well over 300 local families during the nominating year and she is not done,” noted Smith. “Because she serves from the heart, she is deserving of the (Good Neighbor of the Year).”

Cindy Estes nominated the Coles. A neighbor of the couple for the past 35 years, Estes wrote that she has watched them in action “caring for not only their neighbors but a great number of people in the Wake Forest community.”

“As far back as I can remember, (the Coles) have gathered the widows and people without family in town for Thanksgiving Dinner. At Thanksgiving and other holidays it was not unusual for them to open their home to as many as five or six widows.”

Estes also noted how the Coles have cared for the sick in our community by taking them to doctors’ appointments, shopping for groceries and preparing meals.

“I have never seen anyone with so much patience and compassion as the Coles have,” wrote Estes. “I have never heard either one of them complain about being disturbed or having to do any of the many things they do. They truly do for others out of the goodness of their hearts and love of their fellow neighbors. They are always cheerful, kind and compassionate and seem to look for ways to be of service to folks in need. What a blessing they have been to me and everyone who has had the opportunity to know them.”

The HRC created the Good Neighbor of the Year Award to recognize Wake Forest residents who make exceptional contributions to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. The program also honors those who make a difference in our community without seeking or receiving recognition for their service.

The HRC solicits nominations for the award each year from April through August and announces the winners during Good Neighbor Day.

“The Human Relations Council is delighted to recognize Norma Bennekin and Connie and Herman Cole as this year’s Good Neighbor of the Year award winners,” said HRC Chair Dennis Brennan. “Their kindness and selfless service to others in our community reflect the wonderful spirit of the award and make them especially deserving of this special honor.”

The HRC also planned to award a Good Neighbor of the Year winner in the youth category but did not receive any nominations.

For more information, click here.

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