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Residents’ efforts make city better

Four people were honored recently by the Southeast Denton Neighborhood Association for community service, and in our view, the accolades were well-deserved.

We join the association in commending the four — Lenn Carter, Cleopatra Birckbichler, Fred Hill and Leonard Logan Jr. — and thank them for their many contributions through the years.

From helping rid Southeast Denton of drugs and other crimes, to changing law enforcement culture and helping residents in need, they’ve touched many lives in the area.

“Those four have done a lot for the neighborhood,” said Colette Johnson, president of the neighborhood association. “Cleo and Lenn started with the neighborhood group. Fred Hill has owned the only black funeral home in Denton and helped people in need. Leonard had his barbershop. … Those four have been really helpful and just made contributions in the neighborhood.”

Capt. Lenn Carter’s work in the community began about 15 years ago when his patrol assignment as a sergeant included Southeast Denton. He quickly came to learn that the Denton Police Department and the neighborhood had had a cantankerous relationship over the years, and rightfully so at times, he told us.

As the years passed, Carter worked to change that and came to see the group as an example of what community policing is all about. Even when he earned promotions that took him out of the neighborhood, Carter still attended meetings, took calls from neighborhood residents and would often fill out the first reports when things happened.

Fred Hill owned People’s Funeral Home in Southeast Denton for more than 30 years until he sold the business in 2007. While he provided funeral services for many residents over that time, he would also step in when people needed help with funeral costs and assisted them in other ways, too, and not just residents in Southeast Denton.

Since retiring, he mentors and helps out in the community and works in his church.

Investigator Cleopatra Birckbichler was a patrol officer near the time SEDNA first started and often came to the meetings as a part of her police duties. Her workload changed a bit when she was tasked with helping the police department diversify by hiring more women and minority employees. She has been the background investigator/recruiter since 2002, and 21 minority and female officers have been hired under Birckbichler, Johnson said.

Leonard Logan Jr. cuts fewer heads of hair these days, but he’s still going strong in the community, and Johnson said she wanted to honor him for 50 years of service.

Logan’s Barber Shop was a gathering spot for people of all ages for many years, providing a valuable service to many in the community who lacked transportation. The shop is now closed, but the 76-year-old still has a few customers.

In a day when much of society seems to look in the all wrong places for role models, it is refreshing and reassuring to see individuals like these honored for their work in the community.

Thanks to their hard work and commitment to service, our city is a better place to live, work and raise a family.