Best Neighbor contest seeks to highlight city’s civic-minded neighbors

By 
Jeanette Origel, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 17, 2014

Carlos Vargas, the president of Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Lower Mills had grown weary of the negative news he was hearing about the communities he loves and does business in. Back in 2009, he decided to do something about it,launching a vehicle aimed at celebrating the best qualities of places like Dorchester and its people.

Five years later, his annual Boston’s Best Neighbor contest is going strong and is now accepting nominations until September 19.

“I thought this would be a good way to showcase the good deeds that go unnoticed; neighbors helping neighbors making their existence in the city and making their communities friendlier for all the residents,” said Vargas.

Vargas has been an insurance agent in Boston for 34 years and is the president at Vargas & Vargas Insurance. The insurance agency’s two locations, in Dorchester and Stoughton, have been servicing Massachusetts residents for 28 years.

Vargas & Vargas has been a socially active business throughout the years, giving back to the community through volunteerism, donations, and sponsorships. It is presided over by partners and brothers Carlos, Joseph, and Mario Vargas.

“The purpose of the annual Boston’s Best Neighbor Award is to honor an individual who has demonstrated special care, concern and volunteer hours to make their neighborhood a safer, more pleasant and more friendly community for all the residents. This individual may have made contributions to other neighborhoods, projects or citywide concerns,” said Vargas in a statement.

“This isn’t a Vargas & Vargas thing,” says Vargas. There are sponsors who help put it together financially. These sponsors include Meetinghouse Bank, Dolan Conly Law Offices, Sunoco, Tax Sense, Ledge Sense, Carney Hospital, Servicemaster Restore, Neponset Circle, Anytime Auto Glass, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, Cedar Grove Gardens, Quality Envelope and Printing Co., SMW Public Insurance Adjusters, Inc., Eye & Eye Optics, Dorchester Reporter, Tierney Realty Group and Automotive Specialties Inc.

Since the awards were introduced in 2009, three Dorchester residents have won the title of Boston’s Best Neighbor. The first winner was Richard O’Mara in 2010, followed by Phil Carver in 2011, and Peter McNamara in 2012. Good neighbors from Hyde Park were cited in 2010 (Fernando Careira and Joseph Welby) and 2013 (Rita Walsh, Barbara Baxter, and Martha McDonough).

Nominations must reach the office of Vargas & Vargas Insurance Dorchester office by 5 p.m. on September 19. Those who nominate and the nominees must be current Boston residents. The neighbor with the best story will receive $2,000 from the sponsors and a plaque. The individual who nominates the winner will receive $500 and have $500 donated to a charity of choice. To nominate your choice as Best Neighbor, please visit facebook.com/BostonsBestNeighbor.