The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Column: Help us by nominating a Citizen of the Year
It’s no secret that conflict, chaos and controversy get people’s attention. Our digital editor, Brian Baer, will tell you that a headline with the words “wild chase” is almost certain to vault that story to the top of fredericksburg.com’s most-read list of the day.
So, yes, we in the media report those stories because you, our readers, read those stories.
But here’s something I’ve observed in my years in journalism that may not be so obvious. Bad news has a short shelf life. Raise your hand if you aren’t tired of reading about the government shutdown.
And people are interested in good news and doing good in their community. We see that when we write stories about charity efforts and get an immediate response from the community. And I hear about it from communities editor Bill Tolbert, who is almost never short of items about fundraising events to benefit people in need or the agencies that help them.
That’s why I’m confident you will help us make some more good news by nominating someone to be The Free Lance–Star’s Citizen of the Year. We’re looking for someone who has provided outstanding humanitarian service to others in the community.
The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Oct. 28. You’ll need to submit a letter of nomination identifying the person and describing his or her service and accomplishments. You can also include accolades, achievements and letters of recommendation from other persons or organizations. Just be sure to send them together as a complete packet.
The winner will be our community’s nominee for Virginian of the Year, an award the Virginia Press Association presents to a Virginian who has improved his or her community.
In the past, winners tended to be celebrities who were natives of the commonwealth. But the focus has shifted to honor those whose accomplishments have been at the grass-roots level. The one requirement is that the nominee be someone who was born in Virginia or is a resident of the commonwealth at the time of the nomination.
We’ve had some recent success in the state competition. In 2012, philanthropist Doris Buffett won the statewide honor for all she has done to improve the lives of struggling children and families through her Sunshine Lady Foundation.
But a nominee doesn’t have to be someone famous for giving away millions to many to be honored. It could be someone who has given away his or her time, to one special group or to many. It could be someone who has made a difference by doing one big thing, or many small things. It could be someone who has garnered few accolades, but widespread appreciation.
We know our community has plenty of deserving folks. We’ve written about a lot of them. But we also know that there are many who haven’t come to our attention. And that’s why we want your help.
So please send nominations to The Free Lance–Star, ATTN: Marketing, Citizen of the Year, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401.
If you have questions, contact marketing director Stacy Rounds at 540/374-5000, ext. 5574, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please don’t delay. It’s never too late to do the right thing, but after Oct. 28, it will be too late to nominate someone for Citizen of the Year this year.
Phil Jenkins: 540/374-5422