MILFORD — Nominations are in and tallies are counted.
This year’s Citizen of the Year award, presented by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, goes to a Milford High School graduate who decided to stick around and make her community a better place.
The Citizen of the Year is someone who demonstrates outstanding achievement with and outstanding support of the community. Sara Pletcher fit the bill.
Ms. Pletcher was one of three nominees chosen by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford (CCGM) executive board of directors to be forwarded on to other members for a final vote, including Kent-Sussex Industries CEO Craig Crouch and Keller Williams Realtor Kaye Norenberg.
“This year we had three outstanding nominees: Sara Pletcher, Craig Crouch and Kay Norenberg. They all deserve recognition for their amazing work and contributions to Milford,” Board President and The Chronicle Publisher Darel La Prade said. “Sara stands out for so many reasons. She is president of Downtown Milford, Inc., a member of the planning board, and whenever I am in her company, she is always the smartest person in the room, hands down.”
CCGM Executive Director Jo Schmeiser added to her list, saying “In addition to those achievements, the fact that she went away to college and chose to come back to Milford, buy a home, and make Milford her home again says a lot about her love and support of Milford today, and in the future. The person who nominated Sara also says that Sara would be a great CCGM Citizen of the Year because she is well respected and well liked.”
Other nominees have also proven themselves to be active around town in their own ways.
Mr. Crouch, for example, is not only the CEO to one of Milford’s largest employers, but he sits on a variety of boards, including the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement and Greater Kent Committee’s Executive Committee. Mr. Crouch is an active CCGM member and participates in activities throughout Milford and surrounding areas. Ms. Norenberg can be seen frequently buzzing around in a variety of volunteer roles while supporting the town she’s called home for two years now. She is a member of the Milford Rotary Club through which she helps facilitate the Flags for Heroes program each year. Ms. Norenberg also helps Downtown Milford, Inc. plant flowers to beautify the downtown area among other activities.
Mr. La Prade said Ms. Pletcher’s life-long commitment to Milford was evident in her nomination.
“Her commitment to Milford is extraordinary. The person who nominated her for the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year award observed Sara’s middle name ought to be ‘Milford.’ What an apt way to put it! You might say, in reality, Milford ought to be her first name, because she certainly puts the city first,” he said.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized for my volunteer service to the city of Milford,” Ms. Pletcher said. “I have a passion for this city, and I’m constantly striving and encouraging others to make Milford the best place to live, work and play. For others to recognize that passion and nominate me for citizen of the year is very humbling.”
Like many organizations in the area, the chamber “could not do all that we do without the help of volunteers” like Ms. Pletcher, Ms. Schmeiser said.
“We have about 300 volunteers annually who do everything from serving on the board of directors to assisting in vendor set-up at the Riverwalk ‘Freedom’ Festival. We also utilize volunteers from several nonprofits annually to assist in most of our major events. In turn, we are able to make a donation to the nonprofit from a portion of the proceeds from these events. So far in 2018, we’ve donated $5,300 to People’s Place and $1,900 to Milford’s Relay for Life,” she continued.
Last year, the chamber donated more than $14,000 to local nonprofits.
The chamber plans to honor another person this year to be named next week as the CCGM’s honorary mayor. Candidates vying for the role are Angela Dorey with Dorey Insurance & Financial Services, Brad Fielder with the Dover Federal Credit Union, Debbie Heinsch with the Harrington American Legion and Michelle Mills with Etta’s Catering.
The honorary mayor will be announced at the monthly chamber mixer Thursday night, July 26 at Perdue in Milford.