Six community-minded residents were chosen as honorees as 2017 Citizen of the Year and Citizen of the Years.
The annual recognition was begun in the early 1950s by then-editor of The Oxford Press Avis Cullen to recognize contributions to the community for either the year just ending or for long-term contributions. The Oxford Kiwanis Club partnered with the weekly newspaper to honor the recipients each year.
The announcement is traditionally done in the final paper of the year.
Bruce Murray and Carol Hauser are being honored as 2017 Citizens of the Year this year. Murray was nominated in recognition of his “gift of music” to the community in a series of summer concerts and Hauser was nominated for her efforts guiding the United Way of Oxford, Ohio and Vicinity through a tumultuous year in which the director resigned and then two people hired as successors left the position within days of being hired.
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The selection committee—made up of previous recipients of the annual recognition—also chose to honor two men and two women as Citizens of the Years to honor their long-term commitments to the community.
Jim Haley was honored for his hard work over the past three years establishing the Stars & Stripes program of the Oxford Rotary Club in which residents subscribe for a flag to be placed in their yards or businesses on each of five national holidays. Also honored was Roger Millar for his efforts as director of the Oxford Community Foundation and the Three Valley Conservation Trust.
The two women named Citizens of the Years were Marlene Hoffmann, for her willingness to help anyone in need and for her many volunteer activities focused on the preserving the environment, and Marsha McQueen, who volunteers time to work with the Kiwanis K-Kids at Marshall School, where she organizes a fall food drive to benefit the Oxford Community Choice Pantry and a spring Diabetes Lock-In to raise money to fight Juvenile Diabetes.
The recipients will be honored at the Oxford Kiwanis Club luncheon at the Knolls of Oxford on Tuesday, Feb. 13. At that time, each recipient will be presented with a watercolor of Uptown Oxford by local artist Marjorie Bowers and reproduced through a grant from the Oxford Community Foundation. The watercolor is available only to recipients of the award.
Murray followed up his highly-popular “Mozart Mondays” piano concert series of 2015 with a “Mostly Beethoven” series this past summer drawing large appreciative audiences. In a nomination for the recognition, Dr. Ellen Buerk commented of the concerts, “He gave so much joy to my life.”
Hauser was elected to serve as president of the United Way board at the annual meeting in February. Introduced at that meeting was a new executive director, who had just started in the position a day earlier, but resigned soon after. A second director was sought and hired but proceeded to resign after two weeks on the job. Hauser was nominated for the Citizen of the Year award for, in effect, serving as board president and director as well as taking the lead in efforts to install a new accounting system for use by the United Way.
“It was a lot for Carol to handle, while managing the day-to-day stuff,” said Jim Lipnickey, a member of the United Way board.
Haley brought the idea of the Stars & Stripes program to the Rotary Club and has become the “heart and soul” of the effort in the past three years, according to current Rotary Club President Pat Sidley.
Millar was praised for his ability to move organizations to the next level, specifically through his work with the community foundation and the conservation trust, by empowering others in the organizations “to be all they could be,” according to a nomination by Calvin Conrad.
Hoffmann was described in a nomination by Patricia Kaufman as a person active in the issues of concern to her. “Marlene is not an individual who sits back and complains about problems. She is a positive force for making Oxford the community that we can be proud of,” Kaufman wrote.
McQueen, a teacher at Marshall Elementary, has taken the lead in several projects at the school with an eye toward helping others. The food drive and Diabetes Lock-In are aimed at educating students about the needs of others as well as taking positive steps to helping.
A nomination by Brad and Barb Cotterman concluded, “Marsha McQueen is a dedicated teacher, but she has a larger dedication to our community and especially our youth. What an example she is.”