Good Neighbor Recognition
The Good Neighbor Recognition program promotes neighborhood involvement and community service. The Good Neighbor Award is an annual recognition, highlighting an individual who has demonstrated exemplary commitment to their neighborhood and the greater community through volunteerism and service.
Members of the community are invited to nominate individuals who demonstrate their volunteerism and commitment to the community by building a brighter future for Valparaiso. Nominees may represent all age groups, interest areas and walks of life. A committee of volunteers will select a recipient to be recognized by Mayor Murphy at Valpo Parks' Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 25, 2023.
The committee is no longer accepting nominations for our 2023 Good Neighbor Award.
Eligibility and criteria include:
- individual nominees must be Valparaiso residents and must have volunteered in the city within the past year;
- individuals and organizations may only contribute one nomination per year;
- individuals may not self-nominate for this award;
- nominees may not be compensated for the service described within the nominations; and
- selection committee members and elected officials may not participate as nominators or nominees.
2023 selection committee members include Kaye Frataccia-Seibert, Lisa Franko, Rich Schmidt, Patrick Lyp, Lauren Hefner and Joe Baczynski.
Good Neighbor Award History
View a list of all nominees for the Good Neighbor Award organized by year.
2023 - Kevin Cornett - Kevin Cornett has lived in Valparaiso for more than 25 years and raised two children in the community. He is a member of the Valpo Parks Board and a dedicated volunteer with Hilltop Neighborhood House, overseeing the building of the Children’s Community Garden, the Hilltop Playground, the Food Pantry and is currently managing the building of the new Soup Kitchen to open in 2024, among other projects. He serves on the board for the Porter County Building Trades Corporation, assisting with the planning and building of a community home to be completed in 2024. He also assists the community by helping his Northview neighbors with yard work and snow removal, and volunteering with Home Team Valpo which helps local residents to make their homes safer, more efficient and more accessible. Learn more.
2022 - Joe Baczynski - Joe Baczynski gives generously of his time and energy to support veterans, seniors, children and the Valparaiso community. Joe Baczynski has been an active volunteer in Valparaiso since moving here in 1991. He is a former Marine who served in Vietnam who gives of his time to support veterans, children, seniors and the Valparaiso community in general. He is active in the veteran community, organizing fundraisers and events that support and honor their service. He is a longtime volunteer with the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival and organizes the annual Soapbox Derby. As a member of the Dunes Leathernecks, he organizes an annual golf outing that helps to fill six local food pantries and leads the Toys for Tots drive during the holidays, among other volunteer efforts. Learn more.
2021 - Susie Hord - Susie Hord has a heart for families, children, her College Hill neighborhood and the elderly. She quietly makes a difference for so many. Susie Hord has been serving the Valparaiso community since she arrived to attend Valparaiso University in 1972, and then chose to make Valparaiso her home. She served as director of the pre-school at Immanuel Lutheran for more than 25 years and recently helped the school to achieve well deserved accreditation. She is currently active with Immanuel’s comfort team, taking Caleb, the comfort dog, to visit local nursing homes and schools. Susie also volunteers with the College Hill Neighborhood Association, Valparaiso Family YMCA, Valpo Schools Backpacks and Snacks program, First Things First Porter County and Indiana Promise. Learn more.
2020 - Bob Westfall - Bob Westfall is an excellent example of the giving and community-minded people who make a difference in Valparaiso. Bob Westfall began volunteering at age seven when he joined the Cub Scouts on Chicago’s south side. He has been sharing his time and talents in Valparaiso since he and his wife, Pam, moved to the city in 1990. He has been active with Christmas in April, Rebuilding Together, both ValPlayso builds, Kiwanis and Hilltop House. Throughout the years, he has been instrumental in installing more than 50 wheelchair ramps throughout the community, allowing people to safely access their homes and add options for safe travel. The Westfalls have raised two sons in Valparaiso, Thomas and Michael, before Westfall retired from NIPSCO. Learn more.