First Citizen nominees sought

Published 10:04 pm Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Suffolk and North Suffolk Rotary Clubs are now accepting nominations for Suffolk’s 2013 First Citizen Award.

The award, given each year since 1956, except for a hiatus from 1999-2002, goes to 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, according to club leaders.

“There are incredible leaders in the Suffolk community,” Suffolk Rotary Club First Citizen Committee Chair Ashley Greene said.

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“Many are our unsung heroes, and the First Citizen Award gives us a way to honor them,” added North Suffolk Rotary Committee Chair Rob Estes.

The award was started by the Cosmopolitan Club, but ended in 1999 when the club disbanded. In 2003, it was taken up by the Rotary Club. Initially, members of the club were not permitted to be honored, but that was changed in recent years.

Last year’s recipient was community leader and North Suffolk Rotary Club member M. Caroline Martin. Other prior recipients have included Virginia Sen. Fred Quayle; Dr. Doug Naismith; Delegate 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; Dr. George Barnett, a local dentist; former Mayor Andy Damiani; and the late Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr.

Nominations must be postmarked by Feb. 20.  The clubs strive to receive nominations from members of the community to help choose the award recipient. Nominees must be residents of Suffolk.

Nomination forms can be found on the Suffolk Rotary Club website at Letters of endorsement should be attached to the application. Mail completed nomination forms to Suffolk Rotary Club, c/o First Citizen, P.O. Box 1972, Suffolk, VA 23439-1972.

A reception honoring the recipient will be held April 18, at 6 p.m. at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Event registration is $30 per individual, and sponsorships are available. To make a reservation or sponsor the event, contact any Suffolk or North Suffolk Rotarian or visit the Suffolk Rotary Club website at All event registrations and sponsorship signups are online this year.

Profits from the First Citizen event will be donated to a variety of charitable organizations.