Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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City of Lincoln mayor and aldermen name 2014 Citizens of the Year

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[December 17, 2014]  LINCOLN - The Monday evening voting session of the Lincoln City Council was the last meeting to be held in 2014. As has been a tradition since Mayor Keith Snyder took office, the evening began with the presentation of the 2014 Citizens of the Year.

The two aldermen from each ward decide on one (or more) citizens from their ward who have gone above and beyond to make Lincoln a better place. The mayor also selects a person from the city on the whole, whom he wishes to recognize for his or her efforts in the community.

This year the first award was given from Ward 1. Ward 1 is represented by aldermen Melody Anderson and Scott Cooper.

Cooper spoke on behalf of Anderson and himself introducing Larry and Rhea Martincic. “Larry and Rhea have been actively involved in Together for Lincoln, Habitat for Humanity for which Larry is currently serving as the board treasurer, and Jefferson Street Christian Church. Their tireless dedication to these programs is a true blessing to the community.

“Their generosity does not stop there. It is the small things that truly show the sides of their hearts. On several occasions, Larry and Rhea organized work crews to tackle home repairs for those in need. They also help organize meals for students at the Lincoln Christian University. They have opened up their home to provide meals and fellowship for students at both Lincoln College and Lincoln Christian University. Their kindness and generosity show the true sides of their hearts.”

Cooper, Anderson, and the Martincic’s then joined Snyder at the front of the room where the Martincic’s were presented with a plaque commemorating the occasion.

The Citizen of the Year for Ward 2 was former alderman David Wilmert.

In Ward 2, the aldermen are Kathy Horn and Michelle Bauer. Bauer was absent for the evening and Horn gave the presentation. “Our Citizen of the Year is no stranger to this room. David Wilmert was a city alderman for two terms. He has done a lot for us that a lot of people don’t know. He was instrumental in getting all our computers up and running. He saved us so much money in so many ways. We appreciate all that David has done for us, and we welcome him back for a visit.” Wilmert was then called forward to accept his plaque from Horn.

Wilmert did take the opportunity to say Merry Christmas to everyone, and offered his good-luck wishes to departing Ward 3 alderman Tom O’Donohue.

In Ward 3, the aldermen are Jonie Tibbs and Tom O’Donohue. Monday was O’Donohue’s last city council meeting. Todd Mourning, who was a Citizen of the Year recipient with his family in 2013, will be sworn into the Ward 3 aldermanic position at the first meeting in January. Because of this, Snyder said the sitting aldermen wanted to include Mourning in this year’s presentation. Mourning came forward and was invited to take O’Donohue’s chair to make the presentation.

Mourning made the presentation saying, “One year ago at this meeting, my family was honored as the family of the year for Ward 3. This year, I was honored when Alderman Tibbs and Alderman O’Donohue asked me to present the award for Ward 3 for 2014.

“I want to read you a definition. "A servant leader focuses primarily on the growth and wellbeing of the people in the communities to which they belong. A servant leader shares power and puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.""

"So, the citizens that the city is honoring across the board exemplify that tonight. An example, our Ward 3 Citizen of the Year.

"This citizen spends countless hours at the city owned Lincoln FC soccer fields mowing, fixing, prepping and leading scores of volunteers to provide a first class facility for the youth of Lincoln to practice and play soccer. For the route 66 tournament this fall, this person served as the co-chairman director, medical director, facilities director. A record number of teens participated with over 3,000 eating, shopping and staying in Lincoln over the weekend. We have professional quality fields. I have a friend who comes from Bloomington who has been to Chicago, St. Louis, all over, and he said the fields that we laid out that weekend were better than any they have played on all year. That is what keeps teams coming here year after year.

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“This honoree finds time in his church to provide meals for those less fortunate. (He) provides leadership by example in a society that can be very self-centered. Our honoree works in education, leading students not only in vocational avenues but also helping young men and women to become better citizens and leaders. The extracurricular activities where leadership is evident is with the LCHS Bass Fishing Club and soon the LCHS women’s soccer team in the coming spring. It also includes responsibilities in the LTEC health occupations program at the high school. The honoree is raising their children to be servant leaders with their participation in soccer field maintenance and church activities.”

The entire family, Jon, Karen, Hope, Natalie, and Piper Graber were brought forward to receive a plaque from Tibbs, O’Donohue and Mourning.

In Ward 4, the aldermen are Jeff Hoinacki and Marty Neitzel.

Hoinacki did the honors of introducing the two Ward 4 citizens of the year. “The recipients we have chosen for the award are sisters. Both attended Lincoln high school and married brothers. They are now widowed and reside together in Mayfair.

“They spend a great deal of time volunteering. They are very involved in the food pantry at Holy Family church. They purchase the food for the church, stock the pantry, and on Thursday are there to help hand out sacks of food to the needy.

“Both have taken their turn to transport patients to Springfield for necessary treatments. Both have traveled to Springfield to usher for the UIS performances. Jan is a nurse and works once a month with the blood bank.

“Marty and I are proud to present the Citizen of the Year award to Jan and Pat Berger.”

Finally, Mayor Snyder presented his Mayor’s Choice award, “2014 was a big year for the person that I want to put before you as my Citizen of the Year. It is not every year that the number one Lincoln Railer fan gets to cheer for a basketball team that came within a whisker of being number one in the state.

“Tim McDougall is quite a fixture at Lincoln High School. He’s a huge supporter of Lincoln Community High School. He was with the 2013-14 basketball team throughout all their runs. At both home games and away games he carried the flag around the floor. He’s also very involved with the football team. So Tim is a big supporter of the Lincoln Railers.

“When I called him today to come tonight, I had to have Chief Miller pick him up in the fire truck. When I had worked all that out and before we hung up Tim goes, "Go Railers!"

“Beside all the support for the Railers, he is active in his church and works at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital (17 years this week). So it is my privilege tonight to put before you my choice for Citizen of the Year, Tim McDougall.

With the last of the presentation done, Snyder commented, “Thank-you aldermen. As always you chose well, and it is not easy because there are a lot of people across the city that we could honor. I want to thank you for picking these folks out.” Addressing the general public, Snyder concluded, “and I want to thank everybody out there for all you have done.”

[Nila Smith]


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