Every year since at least 1988, The Daily News has selected and honored a resident, and in some years more than one, as its Citizen of the Year.
We consider this to be the highest compliment the newspaper can pay to people who, through their personal or professional work, made the county a more prosperous, more livable, more civil, more civic or otherwise objectively better place.
The list of honorees going back to 1988 is a who’s who of movers and shakers whose influences were wide and tremendous, and a few who did a lot in a smaller footprint.
In 1988, we named Fletcher Harris, the World War II veteran and Galveston curmudgeon, for his long service in civic and community groups and for being the voice of the people, always informed and ready to speak up in effort to keep the government, and sometimes the newspaper, honest.
Since then, we’ve honored Walter P. Hall, the banker, civic leader and political kingmaker who helped shape modern League City; Alfreda Houston, a Galveston community and civil rights leader; and Jimmy Hayley, former executive vice president of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce, for his service to mainland communities.
Robert L. “Bobby” Moody and George P. Mitchell have been honored for things too numerous and well-known to need mentioning again, as have mayors Chuck Doyle of Texas City and Pat Hallisey of League City; and former state Reps. Craig Eiland and Mike Martin.
The list goes on and on — tireless community improver Betty Massey; businessman Mike Dean; Dick and Horacene Daugird, founders of the Lighthouse Charity Team; and Chuck and Mary Ellen Doyle for their lifetimes of good work.
Last year, we added Barbara “B.J.” Herz, of Galveston, to the list as Citizen of the Year for 2020.
We’re proud of having honored more than 30 Citizens of the Year and for recording their names and deeds for history.
Last year, we also recognized 19 other finalists nominated by their friends, neighbors and coworkers. It was a stellar group of county residents whose service is humbling and inspiring.
Today, we’re proud to name and congratulate the 20 worthy Galveston County residents who’ve been selected as finalists for 2021’s Citizen of the Year honor.
We’re only going to list these stellar people by name today, to avoid stealing the thunder from a special publication devoted to their good works, which will be published May 26 in The Daily News.
As happened last year, all the finalists will be honored, and the Citizen of the Year named, at a special event. Unlike last year, when COVID-19 was taking off in the county, this year the public is invited to attend and help celebrate some of the county’s best. That event will happen May 27.
Until then, if you encounter one of these most-deserving finalists, be sure to offer your congratulations.
• Daily News Editorial Board