MANCHESTER — Calling himself one of the most surprised people in the room, real estate developer Arthur Sullivan was named the 2013 Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.
"My heart is racing," Sullivan said after his name was announced. "Never in my wildest moments did I think I'd be up here tonight."
The selection was kept a secret, even from Sullivan, until it was announced about 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Armory Exhibition Center at the Radisson Hotel by Paul Boynton, president and CEO of the Moore Center.
Boynton said Sullivan, while a successful businessman whose accomplishments include the renovation of the Waumbec Mills building, was selected also because of his extensive charity work. That includes lending his time to organizations such as the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, New Hampshire Institute of Art, The Muchachos, the Moore Center and NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire.
"This is a man who is not just a member of a board or a member of a committee, but an active, fully engaged participant," Boynton said.
"He's hands-on and he isn't afraid to get his hands dirty either."
"I'm so proud to be able to lend a helping hand wherever I can," Sullivan said of his charity work.
Past recipients of the Chamber award include former Manchester mayors Robert Baines and Raymond Wieczorek, Manchester attorney Jack Middleton and businessman Dick Anagnost.
"It's certainly well-deserved," Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas said. "I don't think there is a nonprofit or a charity or anything else in the city of Manchester that he hasn't participated in and helped."