PRNA concludes Pleasant Ridge Month with Citizenship Award Ceremony PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janna Ross   
Thursday, 13 July 2017 07:01

The meeting room of the Charlestown Library was standing room only on Thursday evening, June 29. The residents, family and friends of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association gathered for an amazing end to Pleasant Ridge Month. The conclusion of the month long celebration was a ceremony to award the inaugural Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association Citizenship Award.

The evening began with Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association Vice President Melissa Crawford welcoming all those in attendance.

Crawford then explained how the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association formed. The association formed in June 2014 by Josh Craven, Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association President.

“In an effort to save our homes by improving our neighborhood and by instilling pride, unity, and moral and physical support,” Crawford explained why the association was formed. “Our goal is to make a difference in our neighborhood, our city and the lives of our residents.”

The Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association has been very active since it formed. They have held three yard sales and a road block as fundraisers. They have hosted two neighborhood carnivals along with an Easter Egg Hunt and three “Christmas on the Ridge” events with a pitch-in dinner while providing 11 families with Christmas gifts and food baskets.

Members of the Association have spent many hours providing physical support cleaning up the neighborhood with countless clean up days.

Crawford continued about the moral in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.

“It is like we have gone back in time, 20-30-40 years. Back to a time when neighbors checked in on the elderly and helped them. Back to a simpler time, a time that most neighborhoods in this world today can only imagine. Bonds and friendships have been made and nothing can change that,” Crawford explained.

Crawford continued about the Citizenship Award, “These values and desires are the very things we looked for when choosing the resident worthy of this award. The recipient of the Charlestown Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association’s Citizenship Award must be a past or present resident of Pleasant Ridge subdivision, living or deceased. They are someone who has had a great impact on our neighborhood and the residents who live here. It is to go to someone who loved our neighborhood and the people in it; to someone who gave of themselves to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Crawford also introduced the other members of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association Board including: Ann Cain, Secretary; Beverly Cairnes, Treasurer and Judy Petrone.

Crawford then introduced the President of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association, Josh Craven.

Craven then explained how the Citizenship Award was created.

“I was at Austin High School. I noticed a group of guys all working around one area. There were pictures lining the wall and I asked what this was. They said it was their Hall of Fame. That got me thinking. How could we do a Hall of Fame for us? We don’t have a building right now that we can use for a Hall of Fame, but we can do this,” Craven explained how the idea of a Citizenship Award began.

The winner of the Inaugural Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association Citizenship Award was Robert Douglas Braswell, Jr., better known to his friends and family as just “Bobby.”

“Bobby was the people’s mayor. If there ever was an individual who deserved to be mayor then that man was Robert Douglas Braswell, Jr. You see that’s the name on the birth certificate from 1944. But once again it didn’t take long before he was just known as Bobby,” Craven stated.

Craven continued, “If you want to give a Citizenship Award to someone they have to first represent the first word of that sentence. Citizenship. If you ask me my definition of citizenship is loyalty, commitment, caring, giving. He showed that to every person he came across because he was one of us.”

Craven went on to explain the impact Braswell left on those who knew him and those who were lucky enough to call him a friend.

One story he shared was of Braswell taking one of the the workers, Betty Ann, of his store, Bobby’s Sweet Shop, to pick out her class ring. She intended to make payments on her ring. She went to make a payment and to her surprise the jeweler told her “Bobby was in already and has paid it off!”

Craven shared another story about his father wanting to build a garage on the house he now resides. Craven’s father stopped at the Sweet Shop and asked Bobby to come to check out his plans. Bobby told him he would be by within a couple hours and he was a man of his word. Braswell stopped by on his way home and looked at the plans.

Craven said, “A couple hours later Bobby stopped by and looked at it and told him that was great and then told him all he needed to do was get the permits.”

Craven added, “Bobby would give the shirt off his back for someone. He was a stand up individual. Albert Einstein once said ‘the value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he receives.’ That saying couldn’t be any more fitting for such an amazing man than our first ever recipient of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association Citizenship Award.”

Then the moment everyone had waited for, the presentation of the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association’s inaugural Citizenship Award. The award was accepted by one of Braswell’s daughters, Star Williams.

A very surprised Williams wiped away tears as she thanked the Pleasant Ridge Association for the award. She believed she was giving the award, not receiving the award on behalf of her Dad.

“As most of you know 17 years ago today we lost the best man I have ever known and the best mayor this town has ever seen, my Dad, Bob Braswell. He loved this town and took care of all the people, no matter what walk of life they were from. He loved the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood because that was his home and his people,” Williams concluded.