First Citizen, and first class

Published 9:09 pm Monday, October 12, 2015

Each year, Suffolk’s two Rotary clubs take it upon themselves to honor a Suffolk resident for the commitment that person has made and the hard work he or she has done to improve the city and make life more rewarding for its residents.

The Suffolk First Citizen Award was given by the Cosmopolitan Club in 1956 through 1998, when the club disbanded. The Rotary Club of Suffolk picked up the mantle in 2003, and the North Suffolk Rotary Club joined in the recognition starting in 2010.

The list of distinguished honorees includes the late Robert W. “Bobby” Harrell Jr., Dr. R. Leroy Howell Sr., M. Caroline Martin, former state Sen. Fred Quayle, Douglas Naismith, Delegate Chris Jones, Betsy Brothers, Ross Boone, attorney Whitney Saunders, longtime Councilman Curtis R. Milteer Sr., historian Sue Woodward, former mayor E. Dana Dickens III and others.

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This year’s nominee, real estate executive Billy Chorey, is another in the long line of honorees who have contributed so much to the arts, philanthropy, business, education, government, history and other facets of Suffolk life. He is well known for the humility and grace that are at the foundation of his quiet, behind-the-scenes charitable work.

Chorey will be honored during a Nov. 5 reception and ceremony at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Tickets are $35 and are available at Look for the registration link, and be prepared to submit a credit card number.

Funds raised at the event are used to support both clubs’ annual charitable efforts in Suffolk. The event is always one of Suffolk’s biggest soirées of the year. It’s a first-class party and one that should not be missed.