‘Humbled to be chosen’

BRIAN HUGHES Public Information Officer | City of Crestview

CRESTVIEW — Nominations are now being accepted through Nov. 1 for the city’s Mae Retha Coleman Crestview Citizen of the Year award, the annual recognition of a Crestview resident who unselfishly goes above and beyond to better the community.

The Mae Retha Coleman Crestview Citizen of the Year award is named for a longtime community activist whose work ranged from providing holiday meals to the poor to running a prison ministry for troubled youth

The award, first presented in 2012, is named for a longtime Crestview community activist and retired nurse and recognizes people who share her spirit of community and giving back. The honor was proposed and instituted by former Crestview City Council President Ben Iannucci, who named it for its first recipient.

Upon receiving the award, Mrs. Coleman promptly volunteered to head up the committee that was formed to select subsequent recipients.

“I never heard anybody who moans and groans do anything. It’s the people … who get up and move,” Mrs. Coleman said. “It’s an award that you work for. Get out and do something. Let’s see what we can do for our community. But we can’t do it staying at home.”

Crestview’s current Citizen of the Year, shown with Mayor JB Whitten and the City Council, is Kadance Fredericksen, who was 12 when presented with the honor last year.

The current Citizen of the Year, Kadance Fredericksen, an activist for the homeless, Ronald McDonald House and hunger causes, is also the award’s youngest honoree. She was selected at age 12 last year.

Previous recipients are:

  • 2018: Claudis Dale, activist in Eastern Star, church and community affairs
  • 2017: Rae Schwartz, proponent for community arts, culture and Boy Scouting
  • 2016: Mary Jo Woodruff, organizer of hunger projects and feeding hurricane victims
  • 2015: Malcolm Haynes, Masonic leader and community causes proponent
  • 2014: Dr. Naomi Barnes, educator and proponent of education causes
  • 2013: George Whitehurst, former Crestview mayor and mentor to civic leaders

Recipients typically have no inkling they have been nominated, nor why they are invited to the City Council meeting at which their award is announced. They are usually — genuinely — surprised that their efforts are worthy of the honor.

“I was overwhelmed,” Mrs. Schwartz said when her name was announced.

“This award recognizes long-time service to our community,” she added recently. “The previous recipients were stellar examples of that outstanding service, and people I greatly admired. It was a privilege to follow their footsteps and join their company — including the embodiment of community service, Mae Reatha Coleman herself!”

Nominations are due by Nov. 1 for the Mae Retha Coleman Crestview Citizen of the Year recognition. Nomination forms are available on the city website, https://bit.ly/2SVrXek; or from the city clerk, either in person at City Hall or by contacting cityclerk@cityofcrestview.org, 850.682.1560.


1. Nominee must be a resident of, or have a vested interest in, the City of Crestview for a minimum of 12 months and have interest in the betterment of the city.

2. Application should include contributions to the city and its citizens for the year 2020.

3. Application may include past actions that show dedication to the City of Crestview and its citizens.

4. Application should discuss specific acts that put others first and enhanced the quality of life.

5. Application should describe who benefited, what was accomplished, breadth of impact and how did it relate to the community.

Nomination should be for selfless acts and not directly related to the nominee’s job.