NeighborWorks News

2017 Most Improved Winners

2017 Most Improved Winners

Katie Batterbee - Friday, June 09, 2017

Volunteer of the Year: Paul Jermunson for spending hundreds of hours volunteering at the Owner-Build Homes project. In this program, 10 families build 10 homes, no one moves in until all of the homes are finished. Each family and their volunteers spend over 1200 hours building the homes. Paul spent his time with the families that most needed volunteers to help them build.

Board Member Recognition: Laura Goldhahn – Laura served on the NeighborWorks board of directors from 2003 through 2016 and was president of the Board for two years. “Her wisdom and willingness to take risks led NeighborWorks Great Falls to greater achievements and greater impact”, said Sheila Rice, Executive Director, “We are a better organizations because of Laura’s leadership.” 

Business Partner of the year: Stewart Title – Stewart Title, a great supporter of NeighborWorks for many, many years, helped implement the contract for deed financing program, participated in the fund drive (including a you-tube campaign video starring two Stewart employees), and closed the complicated Owner-Built Homes loans.

Realtor of the Year Award: Beth Duke, Coldwell Banker The Falls Real Estate - Beth was involved in more NeighborWorks customer’s transactions, both as a listing realtor and as a selling realtor, than any other real estate professional in Great Falls in 2016.  

Lending Partner of the Year Award: First Interstate Bank First Interstate Bank is was named the lending partner of the year, as the first mortgage lender for more than 20% of the secondary loans made by NeighborWorks Great Falls. First Interstate has been a financial supporter of NeighborWorks since 1980.  

Most Improved Rental: Margaret Apartments, Garry Hackett, 413 Central Avenue - Garry Hackett worked magic in taking the upper floors of the Margaret Building nothing to something. An old hotel, the upper floors now houses quality 13 apartments. Earlier, Garry redeveloped the Hastings Building at 609 and 611 Central into upper-floor apartment units and ground-floor retail space and he recently purchased the building at 511 Central for renovation and his home. Garry’s investments show that he is a believer in downtown Great Falls.  

Most Improved Residential: Lee and Sandy Houle – 420 7th Avenue South-Lee is a long-time supporter of NeighborWorks, having served on the board of directors as a resident of the south side. After growing up on the south side, Lee bought this home from NeighborWorks many years ago and has continually upgraded and taken care of it. This year, due to hail damage, Sandy and Lee completely resided and landscaped the home into a beautiful addition to the 700 block of 7th Avenue South. Lee and Sandy love the south side and intend to live there for many more years.  

Most Improved Commercial Property: Wines By Wednesday Event Center, Mark Tronson, 214 5th Street South

Mark Tronson has a vision for downtown and he is making that dream come true to restoring the long-vacant Van Tighem Metal Shop into Wines by Wednesday and an event center to use for wine tasting parties and concerts. The large space, including a mezzanine level with a historic backbar from Holter Lake Lodge, seats up to 150 people and can be rented for wedding receptions, company meetings and other events. The improvements include new heating and air conditioning, large windows, a new stairway and rails, old-fashioned looking Einstein lights, painting and a thorough cleaning.  

Best New Building Award: Cameron Family Center, Great Falls Rescue Mission, 408 2nd Avenue South- One of the largest investments in downtown in recent years is the Great Falls Rescue Mission Cameron Family Center, built to provide the temporary home where no homeless family suffers and struggles alone, and where families do not have to be separated in order to receive the help they need. Prior to the opening, there were no facilities in North Central Montana that provided a shelter for families with children. The Center features 13 private rooms with private bathrooms and four dorms for temporary residents, a day-care center so parents can take classes and look for jobs and assistance programs, living rooms, community chapels, a family-style eating atmosphere and community kitchens.  

Best Adaptive Re-use of a Building: St. Vincent de Paul Grace Home, 2211 5th Avenue North - The Grace Home Veteran's Center is operating by St Vincent De Paul Society as a veterans transition facility and was very well supported by active and retired military and other citizens who came to build, decorate, trim trees and to clean up debris. Prior to Grace Home opening, Great Falls was the only community in the state that did not have any transitional living place for veterans. The Grace Home repurposes a building which started life as a monastery, continued as a mental health residential center, and now finds a new purpose in sheltering veterans


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