Boises Good Neighbor Awards are a little like a block-party version of the Oscars, as residents get together to recognize their own and acknowledge a few stars.
Boise Mayor David Bieter hosts the Good Neighbor Day celebration Thursday evening at Boise Depot.
The public is invited to be part of the event, at which 18 people, eight businesses and six organizations all nominated by their neighbors will take home awards.
Tom Harrell, a resident of his neighborhood for more than 30 years, is one of the nominees, his name put in the fold by 18 neighbors and family members who got together. Harrell died in July, leaving behind what one neighbor called the nicest yard on the block and a wake of good works.
Harrell and his dog, Sophie, were a regular sight, keeping an eye on the neighborhood during their nightly rounds.
Losing him was a shock. We all thought this was a great way to pay tribute to him, said Kendra Smith, who has lived next to the Harrells for seven years. He was the best neighbor.
Harrell was retired from his job with Food Services of America. He and his wife, Peggy, raised their family in a neighborhood where many houses date to World War II and many trees have had time to grow tall.
Tom was at our neighborhood association meeting about four days before he died. Hed just gotten out of the hospital but came because he didnt want to miss a meeting, said neighbor Robert Austin, among those who nominated Harrell.
Austin credits Harrell with doing the legwork, getting a city grant, working with ACHD and petitioning neighbors to get new street lights installed.
Harrell was also the resident ditch guru and irrigation expert, said Austin.
This is the second year of the neighbor program, said organizer Charlene Miller, crime prevention coordinator and director of Neighborhood Watch for the Boise Police Department.
The Neighborhood Watch program often concerns itself with Boises problems: prowlers, crime stats and vandalism. But in the course of her day, Miller is just as likely to hear residents talking about their neighbors good works and generous gestures.
Thats what inspired her to create the Good Neighbor Awards.
These awards let people know whats going on in Boise and encourage people to look around and see whos doing good things and be inspired themselves, Miller said.
Roger Hankins, who moved back into the house where he grew up in the Morris Hill neighborhood, is nominated as a good neighbor. But he also nominated Dennis and Misty Shipley, owners of Great Gargoyles, a store thats been in business on Orchard Street since 1989.
The Morris Hill Neighborhood Association has often looked to the store to donate door prizes for neighborhood events and the Shipleys have always been generous, said Hankins. He appreciates that the store has also been an anchor, helping to keep the neighborhood vital in tough times.
The Shipleys merchandise includes gargoyle statues, tattoo supplies, body jewelry, computer parts and more.
Dennis Shipley said hes flattered by the award, but also mystified. He does acknowledge that hes been generous. When a man came in to buy a protective gargoyle statue for his wifes hospital room, Shipley gave him the statue for free. His reward came when the woman, recovered from cancer, came in to thank him.
I try to treat everybody with respect. Every customer who walks in the store is my boss, said Shipley. I dont know what I did to win, but Im excited. Ill be there to celebrate.
Anna Webb: 377-6431