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Hooksett Lions Club seeks nominees for citizen award

HOOKSETT - The Hooksett Lions Club is now accepting nominations for its 54th Citizen of Year.

The annual award honors an outstanding citizen or a combination of citizens (such as couples or partners in an effort) of good character and without a criminal record who has/have a made a positive influence on their community through their community involvement as a volunteer offering extraordinary service and leadership.

"It's just a wonderful honor for that individual, to have the town thank them for their commitment and service," said Hooksett Lions Club member James Sullivan.

Recent recipients include Mary Farwell in 2012, in part for her work coordinating the Salvation Army bell ringers during the holiday season, and David Hess in 2011 for his work in conservation.

"It's a wide variety of individuals who have received this award," said Sullivan. "Parks & Rec members, school board members, church volunteers, a person involved in the Girl Scouts won a few years back."

The local Lions Club has issued the award every year since 1959.

"They thought it was appropriate that they honor someone in town for their service to the community in regards to many areas, whether it be civic involvement, community service involvement, church involvement," said Sullivan. "They pretty much adopted a motto, which was "to make Hooksett a better place in which to live."

The selection process is carried out in "kind of a secret way," according to Sullivan.

After Sullivan receives the nominations, he will forward them to the president of the club, Melody Whitcher, unopened. Whitcher will in turn pass them on to someone she has chosen to head the committee, whose identity will be known only to the president.

That individual will go on to assemble the committee. After the committee has made their selection, the name will be revealed to Whitcher. The ceremony for the 2013 Citizen of the Year will be held on May 13, but the winner will be announced well before that, possibly in early January.

"Until about the mid-70s, it actually used to be a surprise at the event," said Sullivan. "That created some interesting situations, where you're trying to get the nominee and people who would want to see the ceremony there without their knowing the results. There was a lot of running around in secret. Now, where we announce it prior to the event, it's much easier to get everyone in attendance."

How and when they ultimately reveal the winner can vary from year to year. Last year, it was Farwell herself who was first to hear about her award when she came in to discuss bell-ringing at a Lion's Club meeting.

"We figured, well she's here, we might as well tell her now," Sullivan said.

The May ceremony will include presentations, proclamations issued by the governor, state senators, U.S. senators, and the town, as well as a lunch, entertainment and various speakers.

Nominations must be submitted no later than Dec. 15 to the club at 2 Trent Road in Hooksett.

The nomination form may be found on the group's website at

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