Brenda Hutzel is the recipient of 21st Spirit of Union Award

Brenda Hutzel is an early riser who appreciates her east-facing home in the City of Union. But she likes that directional location for reasons in addition to beautiful sunrises: “The winds often blow the weather in from the west. With an east-facing entry, you have less wind gusts and snow at your front door in the wintertime!”

She’s truly made the front walk and entrance a special place to welcome visitors. Here, she’s added extra plantings and potted flowers to enhance the walkway and beautiful arched entry. Mature trees offer stately shade in the front yard.

Brenda is the recipient of the Spirit of Union Award. Her home, which she’s lived in for three years now, is located at 100 Magdalena Drive just off Sweet Potato Ridge Road in the Lindeman Commons subdivision.

Having an east-facing house was one criterion for Brenda when she began searching for her new home. She also wanted city water and sewer services, and sidewalks (for 30 years, she had lived out in the country, in Darke County).

Her sister and her son both live in Union and had encouraged her to check out the city when she was deciding to relocate in 2012.

“I had heard a lot of great things about Union from my sister and my son. I was impressed with the city and everything they’ve done to keep growing – including the new P&G facility near the airport, which is a big benefit to all of us. So when this house came on the market and it met all of my criteria, I took a look and it and knew this was the place for me,” Brenda said.

The light-brown-brick ranch is accented with light fixtures and a picket fence that Brenda painted a dark-chocolate brown.

Pink is her favorite color, so you’ll see pops of the pretty hue in roses and other flowers throughout her yard. She likes a mix of perennials and annuals to bring a balance of foliage and color to the property.

“I don’t have a lot of flowers compared to some of the past Spirit of Union winners, but I love to garden. I pulled some evergreens to start new flowerbeds and plant some ornamental grasses.”

She’s also added a few new trees. She has planted flowers along the north side of the subdivision’s landscape mound, which abuts her property.

Spring is her favorite time of year. “This is when I plan what will I do with my yard in the coming seasons. I love being able to look forward to the summer and fall ahead,” she said.

Around the Fourth of July, she likes to add a red, white and blue motif. In the fall, you’ll find pumpkins and mums adorning the property.

Her green thumb started when she was a young girl in 4-H. Her first project was to plant zinnias. “It was neat to watch the flowers grow from seed, to see what they would turn into,” she said.

Her love for “all things green” grew from there.

“Gardening and beautiful yards are contagious. If more cities participated in beautification awards, I think it would help to promote beautiful neighborhoods,” she said. “I’m really honored to receive the Spirit Award.”

Brenda worked for many years as director of fixed operations at Subaru of Dayton. She retired in September 2014.

“It was a wonderful job with great people, but increasingly some of my family members were needing more care. I’m glad that I have more time to be with them and help them,” she said.

The Park Board established the Spirit of Union Award in 1997 to encourage exterior enhancements of residential and business properties.