First Citizen nominations open

Published 7:32 pm Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Suffolk and North Suffolk Rotary Clubs are now accepting nominations for Suffolk’s 2016 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.

“It’s a great opportunity for people in the community to be recognized for all of the service that they do and commit to for the betterment of our community,” Suffolk Rotary Club First Citizen Committee Chair Susan Blair said. “It’s kind of like a way of showcasing them, if you will, for working for the community.”

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The award was started by the Cosmopolitan Club but ended in 1999 when the club disbanded. The Suffolk Rotary Club took up the mantle in 2003, and the North Suffolk Rotary Club joined in the recognition several years ago. Initially, members of the club were disqualified from being nominated, but that was changed in recent years.

Last year’s recipient was real estate agent Billy Chorey Sr. Other prior recipients have included the late Robert W. “Bobby” Harrell Jr., 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; businessman George Birdsong, longtime General Assembly member Sam Glasscock; dentist Dr. George Barnett; former Mayor Andy Damiani; and former Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr.

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

Nominees must be residents of Suffolk, and nominations are due July 29.

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 reception honoring the recipient will be held Sept. 29.

To make a reservation or sponsor the event, contact any Suffolk or North Suffolk Rotarian or visit the Suffolk Rotary Club website at

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