A little more than a year ago, leaders at The Daily News began talking about revamping the newspaper’s annual tribute to good people who do and have done great things in communities all over Galveston County.

It seems like a lifetime ago. So much has changed, so many projects and events postponed, canceled, fundamentally altered in the months since then.

Traditionally, we’ve honored the newspaper’s Citizen of the Year in late March or early April. We all know what was happening about that time in 2020 and continues today.

There was never any question whether we would name and honor a Citizen of the Year. The Daily News has done so every year since at least 1988, and in times of crisis and disaster. We weren’t going to break that tradition because of a virus. There were many questions about exactly how to do that, however.

All that aside, Thursday evening The Galveston County Daily News named its 33rd Citizen of the Year during an event, partly virtual, at the Sea Star Base Galveston.

Today, we commit to the record that Barbara “B.J.” Herz, of Galveston, is Citizen of the Year for 2020. Herz joins a long list of worthy Galveston County residents who’ve been so honored over more than three decades. She’s the first to be selected from a pool of candidates nominated by readers.

Herz is known as a tireless, some might say relentless, organizer of projects meant to improve the community and the lives of people.

We are honored to associate the newspaper’s name and reputation with someone whose record of community service is so clear and compelling.

We also recognize and thank the 19 other finalists nominated by their friends, neighbors and coworkers. This is a stellar group of county residents whose service is humbling and inspiring. It was difficult to make the final selection and impossible to get it wrong because they all are worthy of the honor.

Thanks also to the dozens of people who took the time to make nominations. Your contributions made this project better. Because of you, we learned about people quietly working to make the community better who we otherwise would not have known.

Also deserving some thanks is the staff of The Daily News who worked, adapted and reworked to make the project happen.

• Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com


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