You might recognize him from his appearances on television as Inspector Pastways, a historical guide through Farmington's history for children. Or he might look familiar from his Magical History Tours or simply from his service to local historic preservation groups.
On Monday night, Farmington resident Brian Golden was named the 2012 George Romney Volunteer of the Year, an award recognizing the hours he has contributed to preserving and sharing Farmington area history. Marla Parker, judge and Commission on Children, Youth and Families member, presented the honor during Monday night's Farmington Hills city council meeting.
"It is only those who do the yeoman's work who qualify for this award," Parker said. The award was named for former Michigan governor George Romney, who worked with the commission and inspired efforts to recognized volunteers.
"I do this out of a need to give back. I think when one does that, your community becomes richer and more thriving," Golden said of his volunteerism.
He added that he and his wife, Farmington-Farmington Hills Patch editor Joni Hubred-Golden, coined a phrase: "We don’t just sleep in our community, we live in it."
A torch was passed to him to continue Farmington's historic preservation efforts, he said. "I take it to the next level, to pass the torch to the next generation."
Golden works with teachers in , which previously honored him with an award for his service, and created a nonprofit "historicorporation" Pastways, through which he solicits grants and donations to fund a variety of projects, including the . Golden leads walking tours to local cemeteries and historic bus tours for school children.
To put into perspective the importance of historic preservation, he offers an anecdote.
"If you cut down a tree, you can replace it," he said, adding that it will grow to be just as tall and strong. "If you destroy a building, it will never come back. It’s critical to have an appreciation for the things that came before us. We can learn from the past."