Citizen of The Year Award to spotlight public service
Nominations may be sent by mail, fax or e-mail:
Citizen of the Year
The Ann Arbor News . 340 E. Huron St Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106
Not too long ago, Letitia Byrd dropped off a scrapbook of mementos, which is unlike any I’ve seen.
Almost three-inches thick, it is crammed with hundreds of letters and congratulatory notes that speak volumes about how much and how deeply this wonderful woman has touched the lives of area residents.
The outpouring stemmed from Letitia being named Citizen of The Year by The Ann Arbor News. She was the first recipient of the award, created to spotlight public service and the response is a testament to both Letitia and the award itself. Here are just a few comments taken from various notes:
■ “I’m so proud to know you and so happy that you have been so well recognized by our community.”
■ “There isn’t anyone who exemplifies the spirit of community service, volunteerism and the helping of others than you.. it is a privilege to follow your example.”
■ “I am so pleased to see this well-deserved award presented to you. I am proud to know you - and so pleased that your many contributions to our community have been recognized.”
Letitia is a long-time Ann Arbor educator, who served on the board of directors of about 30 different organizations in our area.
Other finalists for the first award were Jack Brigham, a Dexter Boy Scout leader; Joe Dulin, principal of Roberto Clemente Student Development Center; and Jim and P.K. Bell, a West Willow husband and wife who mobilized their neighborhood against gangs and crime.
Letitia and the other finalists were selected from a list of 56 nominees submitted by our readers. We again would like to get your nominees for this award, which will be presented in January.
In its most general sense, the award is intended to recognize public service and volunteerism. We want to recognize individuals who make this a better place to live.
Although critical to the fabric of our community, much of this work goes unnoticed and that is unfortunate. As a newspaper, we want to encourage public service and good citizenship. There is much to learn from the contributions of others, and hopefully our focus on these efforts will encourage even more of you to reach out to organizations and individuals in need.
We’ll select the winner and finalists from nominations by our readers, and we’ll donate $1,000 to the charity or non-profit organization chosen by the winner.
Here’s what you need to do to nominate individuals for this award:
■ Send a letter, fax or e-mail to The News and tell us how the nominee has made this a better place to live during the past year.
■ Tell us how to contact your nominee, and also provide your name, telephone number and address. We may contact you for additional information.
Just about everyone is eligible for the award. The only exceptions are public officials and individuals whose contributions are tied to their jobs.
For example, we wouldn’t consider an employee of a non-profit organization if that person was nominated for work done as part of their job. Public officials are excluded because we want to focus on people who routinely are not in the public spotlight.
We won’t be influenced by letter-writing campaigns, and this certainty isn’t a popularity contest. It’s just as likely the winner will come from the ranks of people who toil quietly as from others who are better known.
I hope we hear from you.
The deadline for nominations is Nov. 28.
Ed Petykiewicz is editor of The Ann Arbor News.