2018 is the 11th year of an annual award highlighting people and businesses who exemplify the best of all the positive aspects of life in East Nashville. There is one winner in each of two categories. The first is for a business or business owner that in 2018 portrayed the best of what East Nashville has to offer. The second award is for a private citizen who best symbolizes what being a good East Nashville neighbor means.
The 2018 Nominees
Only one person from each category can be named East Nashvillian of the Year, but all of these people and businesses deserve our respect and thanks for their commitment to our neighborhood. Please be sure to offer congratulations to any of these individuals you may see in the near future, they deserve it!
Citizen of the Year Nominees
Throughout the year and beyond, Councilman Davis has done a phenomenal job of keeping his constituents informed of what's happening in Metro government, bills being considered and how they might affect East Nashville at large, and happenings in his district, as well as taking the concerns of both his constituents and East Nashville residents on every part of the political spectrum to the Metro Council. He has always been willing to justify and explain the reasoning behind his votes and has generally voted in the best interests of his constituency. Beyond his political career, Councilman Davis has brought a new and popular business to the depressed Trinity Lane area in the form of East Nashville Beer Works and has used their brewery and taproom as a meeting place and forum for those interested in moving East Nashville forward.
Randy Crawley/Shelby Park Community Center
I want to nominate Randy Crawly for putting his passion and his hard work into making the Shelby Park Community Center a vibrant and amazing community gathering place for kids to share in structured and unstructured free play. Since the day he took over, Randy has done everything he can to better the facilities (he literally cleaned the toilets, floors, and gym every night to such a high standard to polish up the building and make it more inviting). He implemented a very successful and community loved after school program. Helped get the facilities updated, added all kinds of community classes from art to band and so much more. I feel that he is long due to receive this honor for our community.
Katie Elam - assistant director at KIPP Kirkpatrick
She is passionate about the children in our community and daily helps them reach and achieve goals they never thought possible. Her "work" days are not contained within a normal day. She is constantly striving to determine how she and her school can best serve the students. She considers very carefully a child's behavior and why school or social situations might be difficult for them -- she knows these students and their families and doesn't pass off a bad grade or an outburst as something that will pass. She makes sure to encourage, to comfort, to show support. She does this in any manner of ways; from coaching the basketball team, tying a loose shoelace, asking a parent how a job interview went. I think of the Mister Rogers quote: "...look for the helpers" and I think of Katie. As we adjust to the ebb and flow of the changes in our neighborhood, I am so thankful for the "helpers" who remind us that being kind to one another and lifting each other up is something we can't afford to lose.
Kari has lived in East Nashville for decades. Her website tells her story best. For 45 years she has been dedicated to promoting and supporting artists in the acoustic/roots community. The highlights of her achievements are on her
website. Too many to list here.
Sarah Hayes Coomer
Sarah's books speak to women about amplifying our innate strengths, instead of making ourselves more physically pleasing. In her latest book, "Physical Disobedience," (which is getting rave reviews) Sarah invites us to use our passions, and our bodies, to work for a better, more just and peaceful world. She leads by example, motivating people on her social media and also through one-on-one coaching. Sarah is funny and smart and kind and would be a fabulous ENOTY.
Business of the Year Nominees
Have to say that in my years of working out here in the East Nashville area as a police officer, one of the most genuinely kind and intensely engaged people I have had the pleasure of getting to know is Manuel Delgado – owner of Delgado guitars. His home and business are both here in East. Take a minute and read his family and personal history regarding the legacy of his business and you cannot help but be captivated by the beauty of his
Most importantly though, Manny has been dialed into the East Nashville, and even greater Nashville, community for years now. He has actively served on the board of the Eastwood Neighborhood Association and is a current member of the
Mayor's Board of Commissioners for the art's council.
Recently Manny was also recognized by Kentucky Bourbon Distiller Maker's Mark as one of their honorary “Makers” wherein this internationally recognized business showcases the talent of people who know and understand – and exemplify – the true idea of how to handcraft something of beauty and value.
So without question, I think Manny's character, history, abilities, artistry, dedicated engagement to his community, his unquestionable devotedness to his wife and daughters, and most importantly - his limitless kindness – is the perfect representation of the East Nashville culture and what makes this part of town unique. There are certainly scores of folks on this side of the river who exemplify one or two of those traits – but rare is an individual who shines through with all of them.
Mac Hill, owner and proprietor (once again) of Radio Cafe
Mac was here with Radio Cafe decades ago when he and Grimey's Slow Bar were the only show in town. He's back and living behind the new Radio Cafe in a trailer, doing it all for love of east Nashville music. Radio Cafe is his only gig, and it comes from the heart. I nominate Mac Hill.
Cara Graham and Hal Holden-Bache have created something really special in our community. The Community Hour alone is incredible to see in action on a daily basis. What they are able to give back to local schools is helping the next generation of East Nashvillian's. The atmosphere in the restaurant during Community Hour is amazing. The article Jennifer Justus contributed to your food publication recently (read it cover to cover and LOVED it!) captures it perfectly. It is East Nashville. It is kids and families and friends, either making plans to meet or running into each other and building relationships that will last a lifetime. I feel that as far as the influence of a business in our blossoming community goes, it doesn't get much better than LT. I appreciate your consideration of my nomination.
17 years ago, Margot trail blazed this neighborhood and brought the area fine dining in an unpretentious but still special environment.
within those 17 years, Margot has created a place that is welcoming. Locals know it's a best-kept secret, and tourists rave about the high standards of food, service, and atmosphere she provides.
you'll often see Margot outside the premises tending to her planters and flowers, making sure she is representing the neighborhood well.
as an East Nashville resident, Margot works & lives in this vibrant community. She has made this her home for years.
Margot is passionate about using as many local products as possible. On any given night you can see upwards of 90% of the produce she uses coming from local farmers.
Margot rocks. She is a kick-ass woman, business owner, & community member. You'd be foolish not to feature her as East Nashvillian Of The Year!!
Poverty and the Arts
While the location of POVA is new to the East side, the founder/CEO isn't! Nicole Minyard and her husband have lived in East Nashville for many years, even adopting their dog Max from East C.A.N.. Nicole has a passion for art and is a big proponent for greater assistance to our homeless population. So she decided to combine her professional and service focus, and created an amazing non-profit that serves the homeless and formerly homeless by providing them a space to express their creativity, and sometimes their pain and sadness, through art. POVA has an incredible foundation of supporters, but they are poised to do so much more. They now have an annual gala, the Golden Key. They have developed relationships with area galleries and businesses to display artists' work. They developed an online store to ensure maximum exposure and income earning potential for their artists. Nicole has been the driving force behind the success of the business, as she works tirelessly to be everything from CEO to marketing to hanging art at a show. Through the Center for Non-Profit Leadership, she continues to build a unique set of skills to achieve success. For those that utilize POVA and for those that support it, it is truly a haven and a represents the true East Nashville: where creativity and community are united.
Kelly Tipler/Turnip Green Creative Reuse
She's an inspiration—and anyone who can throw a bonafide "no waste" party with delicious food and drinks is someone we need to learn from. She is a positive force, helping people think differently about recycling and reuse, and then to literally change their behaviors. That's no small feat, though she makes it look easy. Caring for our environment is something that many Easties share, so Kelly's example is truly "the best East Nashville has to offer."