Looking for the First Citizen

Published 8:39 pm Saturday, January 10, 2009

Do you know someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty in the name of Suffolk? That could be the perfect person to nominate for the Suffolk Rotary Club’s First Citizen award.

One of my early impressions about the city of Suffolk was the abundance of wonderful people who work toward the betterment of their city. Nowhere else have I lived, where people took such a genuine and sincere interest in making the place they call home better. Whether it’s being critical of city government, supporting economic development, working to improve our downtown or picking up trash at 6 a.m. every morning, there are scores of people in Suffolk who love their city and want to see it remain vibrant and flourish. The results are all around us.

As a way of praising those people, the Suffolk Rotary Club honors one such person each year as the First Citizen. The First Citizen isn’t about having a genetic link to Suffolk “royalty,” but instead represents an appreciation of those who have rolled up their sleeves, spent many hours strategizing, working to improve our fair city.

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Some of those who have received this honor in the past years include Betsy William Brothers, W. Ross Boone, Whitney Godwin Saunders, Councilman Curtis Milteer and George Birdsong.

According to the First Citizen committee, Suffolk’s First Citizen is awarded to an outstanding individual who exemplifies the spirit of citizenship and who has shown significant leadership through his/her time, talents and efforts in order to make Suffolk a better place to live.

The club is now accepting nominations. You’ll find a nomination form in today’s newspaper and every Sunday and Wednesday until February. The nominations must be postmarked by Monday, Feb. 9. Nominees must be residents of Suffolk, and there will be a reception honoring the recipient in April.

We all know someone who is deserving of this honor. Suffolk is full of people worthy of being called the First Citizen, and it’s up to us to nominate them. Otherwise, they may never get the recognition they truly deserve.