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Residents to pick new ‘Outstanding Citizens’ this month

When long-time Bowling Green residents Dick and Nadine Edwards were given the Outstanding Citizens Award last January, the two active community volunteers were pleasantly surprised – but not because of the award.

Although the Edwards fit the description of dynamic leaders working for the betterment of the community through their involvement and co-chairing of the Simpson Garden Park, the couple didn’t think anyone was watching their volunteerism that closely.

‘We never expected [the award],’ Nadine said. ‘We volunteer because we want to, not because of the recognition – although it’s always nice for people who do go above and beyond.’

And because the Edwards received the award last year, they will have the honor of choosing the recipients of the Outstanding Citizens Award this year, along with Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce members and investors.

The award, which was first given in 1957, recognizes one man and one woman who live and work in the Bowling Green area, Chamber Executive Director Earlene Kilpatrick said. This year, roughly 10 nominations were turned in by the Jan. 9 deadline.

Recipients will also have demonstrated active leadership roles for the betterment of Bowling Green through involvement in business, civic, social and service organizations.

‘This award promotes the quality of life we have in Bowling Green,’ Kilpatrick said. ‘We are proud of our community and its citizens, and specifically those who promote that quality of life.’

Along with the honor the award brings, winners will also receive an artistic piece representing the community or something about the winner, Kilpatrick said.

And though the recipients will be decided within a one-session meeting in the next week, the winners will not be announced until the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Dinner Dance on Jan. 24.

For the Edwards, remembering why they were chosen as winners and what they bring to the community will help them when it comes to making a decision about the next outstanding citizens, Dick said.

‘I think we need someone who gets involved without looking at what the rewards are,’ he said. ‘People who win this should just want to be involved for the betterment of the community.’

Besides the love for volunteerism the Edwards’ seek in their outstanding citizens, Nadine also hopes the winners see volunteer work as something separate from job and busy work.

‘I want the winner to know volunteerism goes beyond an occupation, and that betterment of the community comes from total involvement,’ she said. ‘You have to impact a large group of people, not just individuals.’

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