Reporter Editorial: Persons of the Year

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Margaret Mead, the American author and anthropologist, wrote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

That truth hit home with us here at the Reporter when we kicked off our Person of the Year Award  a couple of months ago, following the lead of our sister papers, The Suffolk Times and The News-Review. Joy Buasman took top honors this year  for our inaugural award.

It didn’t take us long to figure out how to put together a list of worthy candidates. We asked you, our readers, to nominate those who could meet the criteria of Person of the Year. With your poignant emails and phone calls, or just by stopping in at the office, our readers were — as they always have been — the best judges of the character of individuals who populate our Island.

The people who were put forward for our award all met Ms. Mead’s definition; all are thoughtful and committed citizens. But our candidates aren’t interested in changing the world. Just making a difference on Shelter Island is more than enough for them.

However, it’s in the specific that you often find the universal. All the Islanders who were placed in nomination by friends, family, students or colleagues have made significant and positive differences in people’s lives. They in turn have taken what they’ve learned and are carrying forward the ideals of commitment to community.

We heard of people like the teacher who went above and beyond to help a student become a better person, or the business owner who never stops giving back to the community, or the active citizen who influences town officials, or the senior who everyone looks to for wisdom. The Island is loaded with residents who work tirelessly to make our town a better place.

Our candidates came from all walks of life and were all ages, thanks to you for nominating your favorites. And a heartier thank you must go to all who walk the extra mile to help others, who every day are unheralded persons of the year.

We live in a small place, but our hearts can match up with those living anywhere.