Recognition where it’s due

Published 11:23 pm Saturday, February 25, 2012

There are some amazing people who make Suffolk the special place that it is. Some of those folks work as public servants in various capacities. Others work behind the scenes to make the city a better place. All of them make a difference in our community.

Once again this year, the Suffolk and North Suffolk Rotary clubs will spend an evening in the spring honoring one such person as Suffolk’s First Citizen. It’s a worthy charitable event that brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate the life, accomplishments and service of that year’s honoree.

Last year’s recipient was community leader, Suffolk Rotary Club member and former Sen. Fred Quayle. Other prior recipients have included Dr. Doug Naismith; Delegate 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 Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr.

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That’s a distinguished list of some of Suffolk’s best and brightest, spanning the arts, business, professional, civic and government communities. The names are widely known around the city not because of the honorees’ desire for attention but because it’s impossible not to pay attention to the things they’ve done for their city.

There’s room, however, for at least one more name on that list, and Suffolk’s Rotarians have put out a call to members of the community for nominations for this year’s First Citizen award. Perhaps you know someone from Suffolk who works in obscurity to improve the lives of neighbors who hardly know whom to thank for their blessings. Or maybe you’re aware of a widely known local person whose hard work on behalf of the city has gone unremarked.

There’s still time to get your First Citizen nominations to the selection committee. The clubs strive for community participation in choosing each year’s nominee, and your suggestion could be the one that results in well-deserved recognition for another of Suffolk’s best and brightest.

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.