On October 31st, 2023, my wife Jen
and I moved from Washington, DC to her home grounds in Michigan. Since landing, we've gotten tremendously involved in our Hubbard Richard neighborhood, District 6, and the City of Detroit at large.
Jen has proudly taken her place on the Hubbard Richard Resident Association
(HRRA) board, and together, we've become pillars in this vibrant association.
Some of those things that I've personally been a part of are listed below, as well as on my LinkedIn page:
- As an official Detroit Mural Hunter, photographed and submitted 12 mural sites to the City of Detroit's Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship (ACE) Mural Map.
- Helped local businesses and property owners improve their sidewalks, landscaping, online shopping carts
- Helped plan, fundraise, install, document (photos and time lapse video), maintain, & dismantle a decorative pinwheel garden at multiple neighborhood locations
- Helped reorganize the weight training room at Clemente Center | City of Detroit for better flow and ease of use
- Located and submitted tree planting requests to the City of Detroit and Greening of Detroit for over 180 addresses to enhance air and sound quality and help increase property values, which lead to over 130 new city berm trees getting planted with more on the way
- Opened Improve Detroit app support tickets to report blight violations, blocked basins, curbside solid waste, illegal dump sites, park issues, potholes/sinkholes, roadway debris, a snow removal issue, streetlights down/out, traffic sign/signal issues, tree issues, vacant lot cutting, and water main breaks
- Provided updates and recommendations for the Hubbard Richard page on the City of Detroit’s The Neighborhoods website
- Regularly participate in community meetings and events
- Reported over 120 blight violations (tall grass/weeds and debris) plus a sidewalk damage issue to the City of Detroit
- Reported multiple instances of lights out on the Ambassador Bridge
- Supported beautification by pruning trees/bushes during Motor City Make Over and at our biannual Stanton Park cleanup days
We've heard Mayor Duggan say at a community meeting that the areas in the city that are the strongest have the best neighborhood associations and block clubs. That certainly seems to be the case with our neighborhood. Just in the short amount of time Jen and I have been here, the neighborhood has improved tremendously thanks to all the work we've put in synergistically with our neighbors.
Today marked a memorable moment, as the City Council acknowledged our collective efforts, bestowing upon us the prestigious City of Detroit award.
District 6 City Council Member Gabriella Santiago Romero presents the Spirit of Detroit Award on behalf of City Council to the Hubbard Richard Residents Association. Pictured from left to right are Council Member Gabriella Santiago Romero, Board Member Cinthya Casillas, Board President Sam Butler, Board Member Jennifer Giroux, and active HRRA resident member Jaacob Bowden.About the Spirit of Detroit Award
The "Spirit of Detroit'" award is more than just a recognition; it's a tribute from the City of Detroit to those who've made remarkable contributions to its citizens.
The award takes its name from the iconic "Spirit of Detroit" statue located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in downtown Detroit. This statue, created by Marshall Fredericks, is an iconic symbol of Detroit and depicts a large seated figure holding a family in one hand and a golden orb (representing God) in the other.
The award is typically given to individuals, organizations, or events that have exemplified the values and spirit of the Detroit community. The criteria can vary, but it often includes acts of kindness, significant contributions to the well-being of the community, or notable accomplishments that bring positive attention to the city.
Throughout the years, a variety of recipients, including celebrities, athletes, organizations, and everyday citizens, have been honored with this award for their contributions to Detroit's community and culture.Looking Ahead
For us, it's not about accolades, but rather the genuine love and commitment we all feel for our neighborhood. Being recognized with such a distinguished award only adds to our motivation. The journey has been incredible so far, and we're more energized than ever to continue our transformative work.