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Citizen of Year nominations sought

Officials with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce are looking to honor a local resident who has gone above and beyond in his or her commitment to the community.

But the chamber needs help, and is asking for area residents to nominate individuals they believe worthy of consideration for the chamber’s Citizen of the Year recognition.

For most of the chamber’s 63 years of existence, the recognition has been generally considered the chamber’s “highest honor,” said Chamber President Randy Collins.

“Who in the greater Mount Airy community comes to mind when you think of a local ambassador, a highly respected individual, or a business, organization leader focused on the future?” he said of some of the unofficial criteria used in whittling the list of nominees when the awards committee meets to go through the nominations,” Collins said.

Individuals do not have to be chamber members in order to win the award.

“I think what sets it apart, it’s generally an award to an individual, or to a couple, to someone who has just worked tirelessly in the community for a single cause, or a combination of various causes…and they have generally gone unrecognized. It’s (the award) a time for the chamber to put the spotlight on them and tell their story. That’s what the citizen of the year is.”

He emphasized that while many winners have had ties to local business, it is not a business award. Instead, it is one to recognize a person’s overall contribution, and leadership, in making Surry County and Mount Airy a better place to live and work.

The winner will be announced early next year, at the chamber’s Jan. 19 annual meeting slated to be held at Cross Creek Country Club. Collins said once a winner is chosen, the name is kept secret until being unveiled at the meeting. That, sometimes, can be a challenge.

“We try to get that individual to the event (without telling them),” he said. “Sometimes, we have to do that through family, or friends, or business associates.”

For now, the help Collins said the chamber needs is with nominations — he and the chamber are asking area individuals to nominate people they may believe should be considered for such a recognition.

“There’s a lot of stories of what people are doing, there’s a lot of heroes out there, and that’s who we’re looking for,” he said.

Those wishing to nominate someone can do so by filling out a form at the chamber’s website at For those who don’t have access to a computer, Collins said he’ll even accept hand-written or typed nominations.

“Somebody that may not be computer savvy, who wants to write up why they think a person should be a citizen of the year, they’re welcome to do that, as long as it’s not more than two or three pages. Send that to me, or drop it by the chamber,” he said. Collins email is and the chamber is located at 200 N. Main St. in downtown Mount Airy.

The deadline for submitted nomination is 5 p.m. on Dec. 27. Once all the nominations are in — Collins said there have already been a “good number” submitted — the chamber’s selection committee will go over all of the forms, eventually choosing one winner.

“It’s a tough decision, there area lot of deserving people out there,” Collins said.

Past winners

Previous winners of the award, and the year of their recognition, include:

1962 Joe Johnson Sr.

1963 Archie Carter

1964 John E. Woltz

1965 Floyd Pike

1966 C.B. Roberson

1967 Dr. J. Dale Simmons

1968 George A. & Marguerite Kallenbach

1969 Rev. James Powell

1970 Jim Grimes

1971 Frank Smith

1972 C.B. Roberson

1973 James E. Johnson

1974 Jerry Beverly

1975 Stan Rogge

1976 Bill Breedlove

1977 Don Nance

1978 Larry Wright

1979 George Summerlin

1980 Dr. Swanson Richards

1981 Steve and Mary Petlitz

1982 Floyd Rees

1983 Bobby Galyean

1984 Jack Zonneveld

1985 Barbara Summerlin

1986 Tanya Jones and Zack Blackmon

1987 David Pruett

1988 Thurman Watts

1989 Ruth Minick

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 Gwyn Woltz

2003 Ed Woltz

2004 Craig & 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 Priddy

2019 Curtis Taylor

2020 David Rowe

2021 Traci Haynes George



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