Feb. 23, 2006 – It's time again for what is likely the community's favorite non-political guessing game: Who will be the Rotary Club of St. Thomas II 2006 Person of the Year?
This year's recipient of the coveted Don Quixote statuette, symbolic of the winner's selfless dedication to the community, will be announced March 1 at the club's luncheon at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort.
Club president Arthur Newton said in a release, "We present this award to recognize strength of character and good citizenship, and to encourage such traits in others."
Since 1981, the award has recognized someone who "courageously struggles against all odds, and who has significantly affected, for the good, the course of events on the island," Rotarian Elliott McIver Davis said Thursday.
Davis, who traditionally presents the award, said: "The speculation is mounting."
The prestigious award has gone to a widely diverse group of recipients, ranging from university presidents to politicians, judges, media personalities, and, in 2002, to Davis himself.
Davis – president of the Antilles Board of Trustees, V.I. government solicitor general, a cancer survivor and marathoner – was flabbergasted. He had planned on awarding his late friend and Antilles School headmaster Mark Marin, who had died the previous year. "Now I know how the previous years' recipients felt," he said at the time.
The winner each year is a closely guarded secret.
Newton said, "I don't even know who will receive the award. The secrecy and the suspense are an important part of the presentation." Traditionally, Rotarians at the luncheon meeting look around and try to identify the most dedicated community leader present.
Generally, a friend of the recipient lures the person to the luncheon on one pretext or another. Suzanne Robinson, the 2005 recipient and longtime community activist, said last year she didn't have to be lured. "I always come just to hear Mac's speech," she said.
Award Committee member Ted Bast said in the release, "As usual, we have received and reviewed numerous nominations during our annual search for Person of the Year." And that was all he said.
Previous honorees include West Indian Co. President Edward Thomas, Senate President Lorraine Berry and businessman Randy Knight.
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