The Dunwoody Homeowners Association held its annual meeting on Jan. 26 and recognized several people for their contributions to the city.
The meeting, held at Dunwoody United Methodist Church, attracted some 50 people to the meeting. The meeting kicked off the 50th anniversary of the nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ensuring the city is “preserved for high-quality residential use.”
DHA President Adrienne Duncan presented the awards.
Bill Robinson, a DHA member since its founding and a board member for 30 years, received the DHA’s first annual Dick Williams Citizenship Award, named for the former owner and editor of the Dunwoody Crier.
Receiving the Community Service Awards were Michelle Fincher, Despina Lamas and Leah Marques, who founded the Facebook group, Educate Dunwoody, to organize residents to speak out for better DeKalb County schools.
Duncan said Williams got to select the first winner of the award named for him and chose Robinson for his years of dedicated service to DHA and to the city.
Robinson’s achievements include establishing some of the city’s most honored annual traditions, Duncan said. Robinson revitalized the city’s annual Fourth of July Parade in 1991 and it is now one of the city’s largest events, attracting tens of thousands to the city every year for the Independence Day holiday.
Robinson, an Army veteran, also organized the first Veterans Day Ceremony that is now held every year at Brook Run Park, Duncan said. He also supports the Dunwoody Woman’s Club and its annual home tour and was instrumental is developing the original Dunwoody Village Overlay district.
“Bill, we want you to see your efforts that led to this day will not be forgotten,” Duncan said.
Robinson received the DHA’s Citizen of the Year Award in 2015.
The Community Service Awards went to the Fincher, Lamas and Marques, who founded the Educate Dunwoody Facebook page in 2019 to inspire dialogue about issues facing the DeKalb County School District and encourage community engagement between residents and school administrators, Duncan said.
“The efforts you have made are the ideal combination of learning from our past history with a very fresh outlook on the future,” Duncan said.
“You have continued to build bridges with other communities who are also affected by DeKalb Schools and organized more action and input than anyone else in recent years,” she said.
The Educate Dunwoody Facebook page went up shortly after DeKalb Schools added more trailers, or portable classrooms, at Dunwoody High School last year over the Fourth of July holiday break, surprising and angering many people in the city.
The Facebook group has led to many online conversations about school conditions and funding. The group was also utilized to organize Dunwoody parents to show up to DeKalb Board of Education meetings to voice their desire for better facilities and more accountability of school administrators.
Other issues the group works to address with school officials include overcrowding, facilities maintenance and budget shortfalls. These are many of the same issues Dunwoody has faced for years, Duncan said, but Educate Dunwoody has been successful in getting the community engaged like no other movement in recent years.