It is one of the most famous and well-known honors in the region. Certainly the highest individual honor bestowed by the Mount Airy Great Chamber of Commerce, which dates back nearly six decades.
It’s the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year award, and the deadline to nominate people for consideration this year is fast approaching. December 8 is the last day residents of the area can nominate someone for recognition.
The first was given in 1962,” said Randy Collins, the chamber’s executive director. “The Chamber was founded in 1959, and they’ve offered one every year for nearly 60 years.”
Collins said the award is meant to honor an individual who “has done so much to serve their community, on many different levels.” Because it’s a Chamber award, he said, the recipient was generally someone active in the business community, but he said the recognition was really about “comprehensive service to the community…maybe someone was being overlooked.”
For those who would like to nominate someone, Collins said the nomination form can be found online at https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/sv/ZBIJTua/2021CitizenoftheYear. If a person wishes to submit a nomination and is unable to do so electronically, he said it is a good idea for the candidate to submit or mail a written or written nomination.
“Tell us their story,” he advised what to include. “We really depend on these nominations to tell the story. So many people who have received the award over the years, you just have to say their names and you know what they did. But there are so many unsung heroes over the years, and not everyone knows their story.”
He said the winner doesn’t have to be a room member, but they’re looking for someone from Mount Airy, Surry County, or from the Surry towns – Pilot Mountain, Dobson, and Elkin.
Collins said the Chamber generally gets eight to ten nominations each year, although there are more in some years. He said three or four have been submitted so far. Once the nomination deadline passed, he said a committee would review each application and select one winner.
“The hard part about this… There are so many people who deserve it, and it’s hard to choose every year. There are so many people who should be nominated and who have never been nominated. We want to encourage people to nominate someone in the community that you feel is overdue. to get appreciation.
Although there were no set criteria for the nominees, the award was “generally for lifelong work…these are people who have spent their lives serving their community in some way, or certainly for an extended period of time. We don’t set any criteria on that.” We accept all nominations.”
The winner was named during the chamber’s annual meeting in January, and Collins said officials are trying to keep the matter a secret until the announcement.
In 2020, David Rowe, who has since passed away, was named the prize winner. He was a co-founder of Smith-Rowe, LLC and former mayor of Mount Airy.
First winner, in 1962, Joe Johnson Sr. winner since: 1963 Archie Carter, 1964 John E. Waltz, 1965 Floyd Pike, 1966 C.B. Roberson, 1967 Dr. J. Dale Simmons, 1968 George A and Margaret Kalinbach, 1969 Reverend James Powell , 1970 Jim Grimes, 1971 Frank Smith, 1972 CB Roberson, 1973 James E. Johnson, 1974 Jerry Beverly;
1975 Stan Rouge 1976 Bill Breedlove 1977 Don Nance 1978 Larry Wright 1979 George Summerlin 1980 Dr. Swanson Richards 1981 Steve and Mary Petlitz 1982 Floyd Reese 1983 Bobby Gallian 1984 Jack Sonnifeld 1985 Barbara Summerlin 1986 Tanya Jones and Zack Blackmon, 1987 David Pruitt, 1988 Thurman Watts, 1989 Ruth Minnick;
1990 Richard Vaughn, 1991 Howard Woltz Jr., 1992 Ann Vaughn, 1993 Jim Andrews, 1994 Teresa Lewis, 1995 John Springthorpe III, 1996 Gene Rees, 1997 Burke Robertson, 1998 Susan Ashby, 1999 Jack Greenwood, 2000 Dr. Wilford Lyerly, 2001 Gary York, 2002 Pat Gwen Waltz, 2003 Ed Waltz, 2004 Craig and Michelle Hunter, 2005 Sandy Beam;
2006 Marion Venable, 2007 Virginia Rogers, 2008 Mike Bowman, 2009 Kate Appler, 2010 Charlie and Ed Shelton, 2011 Carol Burke, 2012 Deidre Rogers, 2013 Alan Connolly, 2014 Berta Glenn Springthorpe, 2015 Ben Cooke, 2016 Catrina Alexander, 2017 Robert Moody , 2018 John Brady. 2019 Curtis Taylor and 2020 David Rowe.