First Citizen nominees sought

Published 9:50 pm Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Suffolk and North Suffolk Rotary Clubs are now accepting nominations for Suffolk’s 2015 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.

“There are many inspiring leaders in the Suffolk community,” Suffolk Rotary Club First Citizen Committee Co-Chair Susan Blair said. “Our community has unsung heroes, and the First Citizen Award gives us a way to honor them,” added North Suffolk Rotary First Citizen Committee Chair Wendy Hosick.

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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 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 the late Robert W. “Bobby” Harrell Jr. Other prior recipients have included Dr. R. Leroy Howell, M. Caroline Martin; Sen. Fred Quayle; 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 Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr.

Nominations must be postmarked by Sept. 9, 2015. Nominees must be residents of Suffolk.

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.

The reception honoring the recipient will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Event registration is $35 per person, 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 charitable organizations.