Montevallo honors community’s best

Ruth Robertson and her husband, Ed, are surrounded by their children, Cam Robertson and Renee Corley, as Ruth proudly holds her Citizen of the Year award. (Contributed/Matt Orton)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The movers and shakers of Montevallo came together to honor community standouts during Montevallo’s 33rd Annual Citizens’ Night Awards Banquet March 24.

Master of Ceremonies “Dollar” Bill Lawson introduced proud principals, club presidents and an assortment of other leaders to bestow awards and recognition on those who best serve the community of Montevallo.

Mary Howard of the Montevallo Main Street Players performed as Patsy Cline to give the attendees a taste of the Players’ upcoming performance, “Always Patsy Cline.” Also, the Montevallo Community Chorale performed as the dinner began.

“It’s wonderful that we can gather together and recognize good works in the community,” Lawson said. “It’s a wonderful thing that happens in our community every year. So few communities take the time to do this.”

Annie McClain, principal of Montevallo Elementary School (MES), said it takes a special person to be a kindergarten teacher as she announced Kim Gray as MES’s Teacher of the Year.

McClain also had the opportunity to present a student award to fifth-grader Jessie Evans, a student at MES.

“Jessie is the star of Montevallo Elementary’s fifth grade,” McClain said. “Jessie is OK being told, ‘You think you know it all.’ I like that.”

Shellie Ritch, an assistant principal with Montevallo Middle School, took the stage to present an award to Sheila Fields.

“Sheila is my right hand,” Rich said. “She’s the backbone of Montevallo Middle, and has dedicated her life to those kids. She’s their biggest cheerleader and supporter.”

Ritch proceeded to award eighth-grade math teacher Tamika Whitt with the Teacher of the Year award for the middle school.

“Tamika Whitt takes it to a higher level every day,” Ritch said. “She holds students to a higher standard, and she holds herself to a higher standard. I’ve never seen her where she’s not fully committed to whatever she’s doing.”

Derek Dearman, principal of Montevallo High School, presented the student citizenship award to Maggie Oswald. He then awarded Mary Howard with the Teacher of the Year honor.

Terry Sutton, 2010’s Rotarian of the Year, presented Ken Jones as the 2011 Rotarian of the Year. Also, Stone Pritchett received the Robert E. Hawkins Scholarship from the Montevallo Rotary Club.

Earl Cunningham, president of the Montevallo Civitan Club, presented the Citivan Citizen of the Year award to Freda Shivers, citing her starting Montevallo’s chapter of the Boys and Girls Club as a great accomplishment.

Mary Jo Buff and Sandra Lott, co-presidents of Montevallo’s American Association of University Women, named Mary Lou Williams as their AAUW Pathfinder award recipient.

“She is Montevallo,” Buff said.

Karen Pendleton of Shelby Emergency Assistance presented a Volunteer of the Year award to the University of Montevallo’s Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity for its assistance in donating 28,000 pounds of food to the program.

Joe Williams of Montevallo’s Boys and Girls Club presented awards to Xan Shivers and Steven Gilbert for their proactive efforts in leadership.

Montevallo Mayor Ben McCrory presented the Friends of the Montevallo award to Freda Shivers.

“If anyone deserves two awards, it’s Freda,” McCrory said.

University of Montevallo President John Stewart presented the UM Good Neighbor award to Susan and Jerry Fulmer.

“They stepped into the community with all their hearts and made substantial contributions to their community,” Stewart said of the Fulmers.

Mary Lou Williams wrapped up the awards ceremony by bestowing the prestigious Citizen of the Year award to Ruth Robertson.

“She’s invested herself in her community as a volunteer,” Williams said of Robertson. “Her personal faithfulness to friends and acquaintances goes beyond what would even occur to most of us.

“Ruth has great personal faith,” Williams said, “and unselfishly lives to make the world around her a better place.”

Robertson took her place at the podium and spoke of her amazement with the community.

“When I moved to Montevallo, I was amazed at the amount of time and resources Montevallo citizens gave to make it a better place,” she said. “I hope to be a better citizen each day and help somebody have a better day.”