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Roanoke citizens are the Citizen(s) of the Year

Roanoke citizens are the Citizen(s) of the Year


Congratulations, citizens of Roanoke. You’re the city’s Citizens of the Year.

In an unconventional year, the Roanoke City Council made the unconventional choice to bestow its annual Citizen of the Year Award upon the entire population of Roanoke for showing resiliency and strength during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officially, the city passed a resolution honoring the “Resilient Spirit of the Star City” as 2020 Citizen of the Year.

Technically, that means everybody.

“This year was unlike any other and this award needed to be unlike any other as well,” council member Michelle Davis said.

Davis was the member who first suggested to fellow council members that the populace at large needed to be recognized for their sacrifices and for adapting to the myriad changes brought about by the pandemic.

“I thank my colleagues on council for not thinking this was a crazy idea,” Davis said, a few minutes after unveiling a banner that recognized the citizenry.

The official proclamation acknowledges the “sacrifices and contributions” made by Roanokers, and it praised Roanoke’s citizens for doing essential jobs, for taking care of each other and for taking heed of restrictions, wearing masks, washing hands and doing other necessary acts to combat the coronavirus.

Parents, teachers and students were especially praised for dealing with the challenges of virtual learning.

The proclamation “honors the courageous, tenacious citizens of Roanoke,” Mayor Sherman Lea said. “I want to thank our colleagues for coming up with this. … I think it sends a message that we are a resilient people.”

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Ralph Berrier Jr. has worked at The Roanoke Times since 1993. He covers the City of Roanoke and writes the Dadline parenting column.

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