Rotarians seek nominations for Warwick Citizen of the Year

Warwick. Deadline to nominate is Sept. 8; award to be presented Oct. 25.

| 22 Jul 2023 | 04:04

WARWICK – Who should be Warwick’s next Citizen of the Year? You might have the answer.

Local Rotarians are seeking nominations for the coveted award.

A letter outlining the accomplishments and reasons for the nomination can be emailed to or Deadline for nominations is Friday, Sept. 8.

The Warwick Valley Rotary Club, a service organization of 75 community-minded local men and women, is sponsoring the annual event under the leadership of co-chairs Cindy Vander Plaat and Patti Lurye Dempster.

They will take over from Stan Martin and Leo Kaytes, who in 2008 were instrumental in restarting the “Warwick Citizen of the Year” program inaugurated in 1968 by the now defunct Warwick Jaycees. Kaytes stepped down as co-chair two years ago and his son, Leo R. Kaytes, filled the vacancy.

“There are so many local residents who deserve recognition for making this a quality place to live,” said Vander Plaat. “These volunteers have demonstrated a commitment to community service over an extended period of time.”

Dempster encouraged community input in nominating candidates for 2023-2024 Warwick Citizen of the Year. She pointed out that two additional persons will be recognized with “Outstanding Community Service Awards.”

Two former Warwick Jaycees and current Warwick Rotarians - Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton and Attorney Doug Stage - are on the selection committee along with John McGloin, Leo R. Kaytes, Stan Martin and Warwick Rotary President Laura Barca.

History of the award

Two plaques honoring Warwick’s past Citizens of the Year hang in the Warwick Town Hall.

Warwick Attorney Lawrence Stage was the first recipient of the honor in 1968 when the Jaycees inaugurated the program.

In 2018, 50 years after his grandfather was honored, Doug Stage, also a lawyer, was selected Warwick Citizen of the Year.

The Warwick Jaycees, a local chapter in what had previously been known as the Junior Chamber of Commerce, hosted the awards dinner until 1999, when the club went inactive because of decreasing membership.

Organizations were honored in two of the 44 years. In 1986 Warwick Against the Radioactive Dump was saluted for its successful battle against New Jersey placing radioactive waste near the Warwick-Vernon border. In 2010 the Warwick Chamber of Commerce was chosen.

The husband-and-wife team of George and Mary Goodman was the first married couple honored. Two other couples also made the select list. Dr. Harry Sayre was chosen Citizen of the Year in 1972 and his wife, “Pete,” was honored in 1990. In 2014, Glenn P. and Susan D. Dickes were honored.

Entertainers won back-to-back awards when Tony and Emmy award winner Richard Kiley was selected Citizen of the Year in 1994 and radio and television personality Dick Wells captured the award the following year.

Two local publishers have been selected Citizens of the Year. Betty Jane Wright, publisher of the Warwick Valley Dispatch, was honored in 1996, and Stan Martin, publisher of The Warwick Advertiser, in 2017.

There were no recipients in 1997 and 1998.

Auto dealer Leo Kaytes was chosen in 1999 for his decades of community service. His son, Leo R. Kaytes, was the 2021 recipient.

The Warwick Valley Rotary Club reactivated the Citizen of the Year program in 2008. Clayton Eurich, who helped almost 100 Boy Scouts become Eagle Scouts, won that year. The following year Frank Cassanite Jr., head of the Warwick Ambulance Corps, was chosen. Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton is the current citizen of the year.

The whose who
The year-by-year honorees as Warwick Citizens of the Year were:
1968 – Lawrence Stage
1969 – Clifton Brown
1970 – Charles Rowe
1971 – Daniel Maxwell
1972 – Harry Sayre
1973 – George Hansen
1974 – Calvin Gilbert
1975 – Mildred Stewart
1976 – John Cox
1977 – Patricia McConnell
1978 – Fred Batz
1979 – Gearlin Logan
1980 – Joseph DeBold
1981 – Elmer C. Fry
1982 – Dorothy Sanford
1983 – Roy Barker
1984 – Bruce Sherman
1985 – George Relyea
1986 – Warwick Against Radioactive Dump
1987 – George and Mary Goodman
1988 – John S. Hicks
1989 – John Mattison
1990 – Pete Sayre
1991 – Lon Tytell
1992 – Elizabeth Van Leer
1993 – Mike Myrow
1994 – Richard Kiley
1995 – Dick Wells
1996 – Betty Jane Wright
1999 – Leo Kaytes
2008-- Clayton Eurich
2009 – Frank Cassanite Jr.
2010 – Warwick Chamber of Commerce
2011 – Ben Winstanley
2012 – John Woloszczak Jr.
2013 – Dr. Richard Hull
2014 – Glenn P. and Susan D. Dickes
2015 – Bill Iurato
2016 – Claire Gabelmann
2017 – Stan Martin
2018 -- Doug Stage
2019 – Hannelore Chambers
2020 – Frank Truatt
2021-- Leo R. Kaytes
2022 – Michael Sweeton
Outstanding Community Service Award honorees
2013 – Denise Thibault and Joe Walter
2014 – Jeff Ahearn and Robert Sanford Sr.
2015 – Geoffrey Howard and Michele Carter
2016 – George Arnott and George McManus
2017 – Tom Buchanan and Paul Orthmann
2018 – Marge King-Porter and Sue Gardner
2019 – Jack Ellis and Chosun Taekwondo Academy Youth Leadership Team
2020 –Jennifer O’Connor, Carmela Borrazas and Nicole McCormick
2021 — Roger Gavan and Vince Poloniak
2022 – Jenna Price and Barbara Katz