First Citizen nominations sought

Published 8:35 pm Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Suffolk and North Suffolk Rotary Clubs are accepting nominations for Suffolk’s 2011 First Citizen Award.

The award has been given each year since 1956, except for a hiatus from 1999 to 2002. It honors an outstanding individual who best exemplifies the spirit of citizenship and who has shown significant leadership through his or her time, talents, and efforts in order to make Suffolk a better place to live.

“There are amazing leaders in the Suffolk community,” First Citizen Committee Chair Crystal Rivernbark said. “Many are our unsung heroes, and the First Citizen Award gives us a way to honor them.”

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The award was started by the Cosmopolitan Club, but ended in 1999 when the club disbanded. In 2003, it was taken up by the Suffolk Rotary Club. The North Suffolk Rotary Club joined in the selection and presentation for the first time last year.

Last year’s recipient was community leader and Suffolk Rotary Club member Dr. Doug Naismith. Other prior recipients have included Del. S. Chris Jones; Betsy Brothers, who was active in renovating Suffolk High School as the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts; community activist W. Ross Boone, attorney Whitney Saunders; longtime City Councilman Curtis Milteer; historian Sue Woodward, former mayor E. Dana Dickens; business owner George Birdsong; longtime General Assembly member Sam Glasscock; dentist Dr. George Barnett; former mayor Andy Damiani; and former Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr.

Nominations must be postmarked by Feb. 23. Nominees must be residents of Suffolk.

A reception honoring the recipient will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 14 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Profits from the event will be donated to charitable organizations.

Nomination forms can be found on the Suffolk Rotary Club website at Attach letters of endorsement to the application. When complete, mail to Suffolk Rotary Club, c/o First Citizen, P.O. Box 1972, Suffolk, VA 23439-1972.

The Clubs strive to receive nominations from the community at large to help choose the award recipient.