The city of Jonesville has opened nominations for the ninth annual 2016 Citizen of the Year award. The awards — given to one adult and one youth — honor citizens who exhibit notable citizenship and outstanding service in the Jonesville community.
Jonesville City Manager Jeff Gray said that nominees are evaluated based on criteria like community involvement, impact of activities on community, leadership, volunteerism, contributions of time, materials, property, or ideas, and reputations.
“We are just looking for those people who go above and beyond, who maybe don’t get recognition for that,” Gray said. “There are a lot of people who work behind the scenes to do important things that keep this town moving forward, and we want to recognize those efforts and contributions.”
The nomination form, found on the city website, is open to the public. The citizenship award committee, established by the City Council, will review the applications sent by the public and make a recommendation to the council. Gray said it is important to recognize the younger Jonesville citizens as well.
“It’s very important to us to recognize not only the adults, but also the youth in our schools that are contributing and being good role models of citizenship for others to follow,” he said.
Past recipients have included Ron Boyle, who is involved in theater for youth, Jim Marks, who was a Village and city council member, and Wayne Babcock, owner of Olivia’s Chop House and Saucy Dog’s Barbeque.
Ron Hayes, council member and chair of the Citizenship Committee, started the award nine years ago and has been a part of the award process since its inception. He said that the thought occurred to him to honor citizens based on volunteerism, and he proposed the idea to the city council.
“Over the years I have felt that one of the best ways to motivate people is to commend them for things they do well,” Hayes said. “It seemed to me that by giving awards to people — some kind of recognition — you are setting up what these people have done and how important it is. We hope it sets an example for others.”
Hayes said the number of nominations received each year varies greatly. Nominations and awards can also be posthumus, because of the outstanding service of citizens both living and deceased.
“Because of the history of our city, we probably will never run out of nominations,” he said. “There are plenty of people living and not living who should be honored.”
Recipients will receive both a trophy and a plaque in City Hall. Nominations can be turned in to the City Hall until March 1, and awardees will be honored at a reception in April.
“We’ve had people who invest a lot of time and effort and never seem to give up,” Hayes said. “They just keep wanting to serve. We treat service as one of the highest qualities of humans.”