Southland’s Hometown Heroes program honors area residents

June 1, 2006

The Olympics are over, the Red Wings have long since faded and the basketball playoffs are finished for the year. Who can you root for now?

Southland Center has the answer: Hometown Heroes.

In an effort to draw interest and build excitement as the regional shopping center heads toward the opening of Best Buy, Southland has teamed up with the City of Taylor and The News-Herald Newspapers to create a program called “Hometown Heroes.” Each month, the promotion will recognize four local “heroes,” either a person or a group of people that has gone above and beyond the call of duty. The heroes will have their photos and a brief explanation of their accomplishments displayed on the “Hometown Heroes” wall for one month. The recipients will also receive a $25 Gift Card and be mentioned in The News-Herald and

Nomination forms will be available at the site. All entries are to be turned in to the Southland Management Office, to the attention of Bob Collis. The first four winners, pre-selected by the committee, are:

§Rhonda Taylor, 23rd District Court Clerk in Taylor. On Friday, March 17, Rhonda’s quick action helped save the life of a 45-year-old Garden City man who was threatening suicide. 

§Colonel Sara Phoenix, Woodhaven High School graduate. Sara recently returned from Iraq, where she was the highest-ranking female Marine. Upon her return, she was honored with the “Making a Difference for Women” Award from Soroptimist International of Trenton.

§The 2005-06 Truman High School boys basketball team. Truman staged a great run in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A quarterfinals, going 21-5 and earning one of its most successful seasons in more than 20 years. Senior power forward Brandon Bowdry earned All-State honors.

§Corporal Scott Atkinson and Detective Rick Hopper, Taylor Police Officers of the Year. Scott and Rick were instrumental in the apprehension and prosecution of a felon who robbed a 91-year-old woman in December 2005. For Rick, this is his third honor as Police Officer of the Year in 10 years in the Taylor Police Department. Scott is a 16-year Taylor police veteran having served as a member of the Special Operations Bureau, Crime Prevention Bureau and Chief’s Task Force. Scott began his career working in the Southland Security Department.

Collis, marketing coordinator of Southland, said: “We look forward to saluting our future heroes as we wind our way toward the finish line of this very exciting development.”

Southland Center is owned and managed by General Growth Properties, Inc., the second largest U.S.-based publicly traded Real Estate investment Trust (REIT). General Growth currently has ownership interest in and management responsibility for, a portfolio of 210 regional shopping malls in 44 states, as well as ownership in planned community developments and commercial office buildings. The company portfolio totals approximately 200-million square feet of retail space and includes over 24,000 retailers nationwide. A publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), General Growth Properties is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GGP. For more information on General Growth Properties and its portfolio of malls, please visit the company web site at