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Neighbors tap neighbors to be ‘Citizen of the Year’

For The Miami Student

Published: Friday, November 22, 2013

Updated: Friday, November 22, 2013 01:11

It is that time of the year when Oxford residents are nominating other citizens who have contributed significantly to the community. The nominees go through a careful review process and achieve what is called the “Oxford Citizen of the Year award.”

Created in 1952 by Avis Cullen, who was the editor of the Oxford Press at the time, the community continues to keep the award alive.

Today, the Oxford Press sponsors the award in collaboration with the Oxford Kiwanis Club, according to member and former club president Mike Rudolph.

“These awards are given for things that people do from the heart,” Rudolph said.

People are welcome to nominate anybody who has impacted the Oxford community in any way. From raising funds to being a part of a board like the Community Foundation Board, people could have contributed in several different ways.

“This is well above and beyond their employment time,” Rudolph said.

Every year, four to five people are awarded, according to former winner Rudolph.

The award had been extended in recent years. Residents who have significantly contributed over a number of years may receive “Citizen of the Years” award. Couples who have made the effort to get involved are also recognized with the “Couple of the Year” award, according to Rudolph.

Everybody is welcome to nominate a citizen to the editor of the Oxford Press, Ken Paxson at

“Nominations are being submitted by the people to the Oxford Press,” Rudolph said.

The nominees will carefully be reviewed in early December.

“The nomination team is made up of former, past recipients of the award,” Rudolph said.

The winner of last year’s award, Bernadette Unger, said she was honored when she was awarded.

Unger said she put in nine years of community service to open a cooperative grocery store in Oxford called the Miami Oxford Organic Network (MOON) Cooperative.

“It is an cooperative committed to bringing as much wholesome and local food into the Oxford marketplace as possible,” Unger said.

Awarded for her volunteer work, Unger said there are many people in Oxford who work hard for a good cause.

Senior Alyssa Reck said it is important to recognize individuals who have contributed to the Oxford community.

“I think that this is a great tradition to continue because it allows the community a chance to thank those who have volunteered,” Reck said.

Award recipients are given a print of a painting by Majorie Bowers that depicts Uptown.

“The only way to receive this print was to be a citizen of the year recipient,” Rudolph said.

The award is limited to people who live within the Talawanda School District and have contributed to the Oxford community only.

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