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Recognizing good neighbors to become an annual event

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Move over, Mr. Nice Guy. Make room Woman of the Year. There's a new star in the San Diego nonprofit firmament.

Meet the first Outstanding Neighbor of the Year, Claudine Hagerstrom. Nominated by her coworkers, the Premier, Inc. employee received the award from Father Joe Carroll, president of Father Joe's Villages, at a June luncheon held at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley.

First of the First - Father Joe Carroll celebrates with the first recipient of the Outstanding Neighbor of the Year award, Claudine Hagerstrom of Premier, Inc.

"Claudine more than exemplifies the qualities of a good neighbor. She has been outstanding in her gift of time and energy to those in need around her," said Father Joe.

The Premier Inc. nomination cited Hagerstrom as "a woman whose coworkers find her enthusiasm for volunteering contagious. She is involved in organizing teams to join her in the annual Multiple Sclerosis Walk, collecting VHS movies for her mother-in-law's nursing home, and coordinating annual caroling by a Girl Scout troop. Among her many other neighborly efforts, she drives a coworker's son to sports practice, organized a Neighborhood Watch program, helped get a job for someone's spouse and found a home for a lost dog."

More than 50 nominees, either as individuals or on a team, were recommended by the companies who participated in the inaugural year of the Outstanding Neighbor of the Year event sponsored by Father Joe's Villages Corporate Neighbors Club and The Daily Transcript. All nominees received awards as the Outstanding Neighbor of the Year within their own companies.

Father Joe explained that the event was modeled after the parable of the Good Samaritan.

"In his time, the Samaritan was not expected to help a total stranger, yet when seeing a person in need, the Samaritan spent time and money to care for him, expecting nothing in return," he said. "Today we honor employees who have reached out to help others, not seeing them as strangers, but as neighbors in need."

Outstanding Neighbor of the Year committee members were Dennis Bourque, Jerry Kwasek, Jim Mulvaney Jr., Carl Rustin and Lane Sharman.

For information about next year's Outstanding Neighbor of the Year event, contact Carl Rustin, coordinator of Father Joe's Villages special events: (619) 446-2100.

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