There is no proper way to fully repay or recognize the army of volunteers who dedicate themselves year after year and decade after decade to our organization.
But at Haus und Garten Tour time, the German Village Society chooses four people to hold up as exemplary -- and to focus for a few moments on just how much they give.
Within my word limit for the column (well, I'll try to stay close), let me introduce you to this year's winners. But before I do, let me thank Haus und Garten Tour 2014 co-chairman Dan Kline for putting together their bios.
The Frank Fetch Award is the German Village Society's highest honor, and it recognizes the exemplary service contributions of an individual who has embodied and carried forward Frank Fetch's example of dedication and commitment to this community.
This year's recipient has consistently demonstrated the resolution and determination to work for the greater ends of German Village that so characterized the award's namesake.
The German Village Society is delighted to recognize Jim Hopple with this year's award.
Jim has been active in a variety of ways over the years such as hosting, with his wife Cindy, numerous Pre Tour dinners, including one this year.
However, his primary area of service to German Village has been the numerous years he spent as a member of the Board of Trustees and on a variety of related committees, including the Finance Committee and the Board Development Committee.
Bringing his expertise as an attorney to the Society Board at a particularly crucial and transitional period of its existence, Jim and others were responsible in helping to update and redefine the bylaws and constitution of the board.
The Village Valuable Award is presented annually to those individuals who really are in many ways the "glue" that help to keep our neighborhood vibrant and thriving through their willingness to get involved and be of service in a variety of ways.
This year's recipients are Phyllis and Hal Duryee, who have repeatedly demonstrated how valuable they are to German Village for almost 50 years.
Hal and Phyllis were first drawn to German Village during the 1964 Presidential Campaign and have lived here since 1966 with the exception of a sojourn in Washington, D.C., from 1984 to 1991.
Over the years they have seen the neighborhood evolve and have enjoyed living so close to downtown all while helping in the group efforts to sustain and maintain the Village.
They have hosted or co-hosted a remarkable 21 PreTour dinners over the years. The Duryees have also graciously opened their home to visitors to German Village through numerous bus and group tours over the years.
The Fred and Howard Award celebrates those individuals who have served German Village by carrying its message and values to audiences near and far. The recipients of this year's Fred and Howard Award are Barb and Ed Elberfeld.
Barb and Ed's volunteer efforts and service to German Village are ubiquitous. They've participated in the Haus und Garten Tour; hosted numerous PreTour dinners (including one this year); assisted with Monster Bash, Village Valuables and the Brent Warner Fest Hall Gallery; volunteering at the Meeting Haus; and serving on the Long Range Planning Committee.
Finally, we recognize Sally Levy as the honorary chairwoman of the 2014 Haus und Garten Tour. Sally has been a fixture in German Village ever since she settled permanently in the neighborhood in 1980.
Sally has opened her gardens at two separate residences on Deshler for earlier Haus und Garten Tours, and volunteered many times at Oktoberfest.
She is perhaps best known for her parties and the numerous PreTour dinners she has hosted and co-hosted over the years with themes as varied as China, bees, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
There's more about our winners on our website, germanvillage.com.
German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.