MARCO ISLAND — Marco Island runs on volunteers. It is the local citizens who step up to the plate and take on the work of the community, seeking to help others, who make the difference that sets Marco Island apart as a community, and make it a better place to live.
Now, you have the chance to help thank those special individuals, by recognizing their hard work and contributions. The Marco Eagle and the Naples Daily News are soliciting nominations for the Marco Island Volunteer of the Year, and the Marco Island Citizen of the Year
"We encourage everyone to make a nomination," said Mary Quinton, community outreach manager for the Naples Daily News, who is coordinating the awards. "This is a great way to give some recognition to those who give so much to our island."
The two awards have been given out since 1991, and past winners include a "Who's Who" of island notables. Some recipients, such as 1995 Citizen of the Year Gene Sarazen and 1999 Citizen of the Year Ken Venturi, are household names, some are known locally, and primarily for their giving. Some, such as 2006 Citizen of the Year Marion Blomeier and 2010 Citizen of the Year Stan Gober, passed away recently. Most are still very much alive, and active in the community.
The criteria for both citizen and volunteer awards are basically the same, with one distinct difference. The volunteer of the year is more focused on volunteerism and the individual time spent helping various causes in 2012 to benefit the island, while citizen of the year is more associated with the positive impact the individual has done over the years to positively impact to Marco Island over a number of years.
"I think Marco is full of people who deserve the award," said Steve Stefanides, 2012 Volunteer of the Year and Chairman of Christmas Island Style. "I was lucky to be selected, but I could have gone out in the audience and given it to a dozen people who deserve it more than I do."
Stefanides will be among those selecting next year's Volunteer of the Year award. The 2012 winners will be chosen by the past recipients of each award, with a majority vote for each during separate committee meetings, from nominations submitted before the deadline date of October 26, 2012. There are no nominations taken from the floor at the committee meetings.
"The main question I get asked is, 'If we get everyone to submit a name will that person win?' I want to clarify this is not a vote, it is simply a nomination that will be reviewed and decided by each committee," said Quinton. "The other thing I need to stress is each nomination is separate. If you want to nominate an individual for both citizen and volunteer, you will need to complete both forms."
Both awards will be announced and presented at Marco's Chamber of Commerce 35th Anniversary & Celebration Gala on Sunday, December 2, at Bistro Soleil on Marco Island.
"In conjunction with Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce, we are honored to continue the December tradition in being the primary sponsor of the Naples Daily News Citizen of the Year Award," said Dave Neill, president and publisher of the Naples Daily News, who will present the award to the Citizen of the Year winner.
"Our affiliation dates back to 1991 in honoring recipients who are instrumental in the community and cultural development of Marco Island."
"I've lived on the island for eight years, and have seen the impact of how the citizens pull together to insure the success of many ventures through a variety organizations," said T.J. Boone, Manager of the Marco Eagle. "I find it a privilege to be able to present the Volunteer of the Year Award."
Previous Citizen of the Year winners, from 1991 on, were Frank Blanchard, Dottie Weiner, Robert Stakich, Tom Shea, Gene Sarazen, Harold Vann, Robert Mulhere, Joe Coriaci, Ken Venturi, Tom Owens, Dick Shanahan, Mel Ollman, George Schroll, Jim Curran, Herb Savage, Marion Blomeier, Craig Woodward, Cheryl Ferrara, Betsy Perdichizzi, Stan Gober and Monte Lazarus. Volunteer of the Year winners were Marge Rocap, Carl Smith, Paula Robinson, Joel Gewirtz, Rita Broderick, Fay Biles, Dave Rice, Paula Tateo, Pat Berry, Phillip Penzo, Al Diaz, Cindy Anderson, Pat Stoye, Charlie Horn, Carolyn Katchmar, Helen Ann Federspiel, Judy Barney, Dale Rod, Keith Dameron, Debra Sanders and Steve Stefanides.
Previous recipients of one award may not repeat and win that one again, but are eligible to win the other, said Quinton.
Nominations may be submitted electronically on the Marco Eagle website, by mail or email."
To nominate for Volunteer of the Year, visit www.marconews.com/marcovolunteer/ and for Citizen of the year, www.marconews.com/marcocitizen/ and fill out the form, or submit a typewritten letter including the information below and mail your nomination information to:
Marco Eagle, Attn: Mary Quinton, 579 Elkcam, Marco Island, FL 34145, or contact Mary Quinton by email at email@example.com. Ads will run in the Marco Eagle up to the Oct. 26 deadline, repeating the guidelines and procedure for making nominations.