Monday, November 8, 2010

Honor First Citizen, leading businessperson

I have been blessed throughout my professional career to have jobs that allowed me to meet dozens of truly extraordinary people who call the greater Birmingham-Bloomfield community home. I truly believe it is the people that populate the “Five Bs” and Franklin that make the communities the special places they are.

Sure, this area is home to professional athletes, actors, performers and corporate titans, and their presence does lend an air of extra excitement to the area. And when you throw in the Townsend Hotel and its star-studded guest list, spotting an “A list” celebrity is a pretty common occurrence.

For me, the real “A listers” in our communities are the dedicated men, women, and even children, who donate time, talent and treasure to improve the quality of life in their hometowns. Most often, they do so without seeking recognition for their efforts and even when recognized, downplay their contributions.

It is important to recognize these folks not only for their contributions, but to encourage others to follow in their paths. More than 30 years ago, this newspaper created the First Citizen Award to honor a local resident for their volunteer efforts. That award was later joined by the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber's Business Person of the Year Award, which recognizes a local business leader for their efforts in supporting the community at large.

Both the Eccentric and Chamber are currently seeking nominations for the 2010 awards. If you have a friend or neighbor or loved one that goes out of their way to give back to the community, either by serving on a nonprofit board or volunteering time to a local charity, then please take the time to nominate that person for the First Citizen Award.

Likewise, if you know of a local business person who is active in the community either as a company sponsor or volunteer, then please take the time to nominate that person for the Business Person of the Year Award. Nominating forms for Business Person of the Year are available on the Chamber Web site at

Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at

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