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Athens Chamber of Commerce officials have begun their search for the 2019 Athens citizen of the year — an award that's been presented annually to an Athens citizen since 1966.

Steve Barksdale was the 2018 recipient. Others have included Milburn Chaney, Willy Robson, Drew Douglas, Peggy Rhodes, David Holdredge, Arch “Bill” Hunt, Judith McGilvray, Gary Williamson, Mary Waddell, Gary Chasey, Jess Laird, Richard Sanders, Rusty Workman and Tere Lawyer.

“We are looking for someone who demonstrates outstanding leadership, citizenship, vision, civic pride and a strong commitment to a better Athens and whose volunteerism and community involvement has had a positive influence and improved the quality of life for individuals in Athens,” Peggy Rhodes said. “Do you know someone who has gone that extra mile, who’s done more than is expected to make Athens a better community in which to live, work and raise a family?”

The 2019 Citizen of the Year will have lived in Athens “over a long span of time and beyond their regular employment has exhibited generous community spirit and a commitment to improving the quality of life for the residents of Athens and entire community.”

Nominations should be sent as letters of recommendation in sealed envelopes marked “Citizen of the Year, c/o the Athens Chamber of Commerce, 201 W. Corsicana St., Suite 1, Athens, TX 75751,” or hand-delivered. The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.

The award recipient’s identity will be kept secret until it is announced, and the recipient is honored at the Friday, Jan. 17 Athens Chamber of Commerce annual gala at the Common Area Market.

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