The Wake Forest Human Relations Council (HRC) is pleased to announce Trent Taylor and Andy Barrett as the respective youth and adult Good Neighbor of the Year award winners for 2017. Mayor Vivian Jones made the announcements during Saturday’s Good Neighbor Day celebration at E. Carroll Joyner Park.
Trent was nominated by his mother, Pam, who emphasized his passion for children in foster care in her nomination narrative.
“Trent is a 16-year-old Wake Forest resident who spends each and every day working on behalf of the children in our local foster care system. Trent knows firsthand how they feel since he spent nearly five years in foster care until he was adopted by his forever family at the age of 9.
“(Trent) has devoted hundreds of hours to the development of the Kids Division within a Wake Forest-based non-profit called ‘Mercy for America’s Children.’ Trent’s efforts led to the development of monthly support groups for children being fostered or adopted through the foster care system. More than 60 children attend these monthly sessions where they can be mentored by Trent.”
Pam also noted that her son often shares his story at churches, civic group meetings, and adoption conferences in an effort to recruit foster and adoptive families.
“(Trent’s) efforts directly impact over 260 families who are receiving services through the organization. Well over 100 of those families are Wake Forest residents. These families are seeing their lives transformed as a result of a teenage boy who is devoting his time to giving back to his local community.”
Andy Barrett’s neighbor, Mark Fekaris, nominated him for the adult Good Neighbor of the Year.
In his nomination narrative, Fekaris began by noting how Andy and his wife, Bette, helped establish the Galloway subdivision’s culture and values.
“Andy has served in several capacities on our HOA board, in the early days helping to establish the social network and managing our community projects. In his roles on our HOA board, he early established the business of our community, as a neighbor he has cultivated close-knit connections throughout our subdivision.”
Describing Andy as “an exceptional gardener,” Fekaris wrote that his neighbor “regularly shares his advice, labor and plant cuttings with fellow neighbors. He also shares his fresh bounty of garden vegetables and regularly lends a hand to a neighbor for various projects.”
As a member at Hope Lutheran Church, Andy serves as a leader of the Stephen Ministry, coordinating activities of more than a dozen counselors. He and his wife also lead the annual “Angel Tree” initiative and volunteers to support various church services.
Fekaris concluded by emphasizing the many ways Andy serves his community.
“Daily, Andy Barrett demonstrates a fantastic spirit of generosity and is the consummate neighbor. His many examples (flowers, vegetables, lending a hand, sharing advice, grief counseling, organizing community service, helping those in need, volunteer work) demonstrate an exemplary mindset to see a need and take action, making our community a better place.”
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 Trent Taylor and Andy Barrett as this year’s Good Neighbor of the Year award winners,” said HRC Chair Pat Odoms. “Their selfless service to others in our community reflect the wonderful spirit of the award and make them especially deserving of this special honor.”