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Victoria Mayor named Rotary Citizen of the Year (video)

By ALLISON MILES
Dec. 5, 2012 at 6:05 a.m.
Updated Dec. 6, 2012 at 6:06 a.m.

Mayor Will Armstrong was awarded the Citizen of the Year by the Rotary Club at a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

Award recipients

Other awards given out during the Victoria Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon. Here is the list and Chamber's comments

• Lifetime ambassador: Connie Hermes

"She's been an ambassador since 1992 but, because she served as chairman for so many years, sacrificed any recognition."

  • Marie Lester, chamber ambassador chair

• Ambassador of the fourth quarter: Jean Hahn

"An ambassador must accumulate 75 points throughout the year by attending events, but she has 705. She always goes the extra mile."

  • Marie Lester, chamber ambassador chair

• Rookie of the Year: Sean Garcia

"There aren't many men involved in the ambassadors, but he's always willing to help out and lend a hand whenever necessary."

  • Marie Lester, chamber ambassador chair

• Outstanding Committee Member of the Year: Judith Barefield

"We redesigned our website this year and are proud of what we can accomplish now with the clean, information-driven page. We want to recognize her hard work."

  • Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce

• Outstanding Healthcare Practitioner of the Year: Dr. Sean Hamilton

"He does a lot for both the chamber and Victoria community through volunteer work, sponsoring local agencies and his medical practice. "

  • Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Most interactive Health-a-Rama booth: Elmcroft Senior Living

Most educational Health-a-Rama booth: Texas Home Health of America

Best use of Health-a-Rama's 2012 theme: Comfort Keepers

Small-business partner of the month: TrustTexas Bank

• Corporate partner of the month: Victoria Eye Center

Alfred Willis Armstrong Sr.'s unblemished Rotary record left big shoes for his son to fill. But on Wednesday, that son proved his worth.

Art Calvo, president of the Victoria Rotary Club, named Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong Rotary Citizen of the Year during the Victoria Chamber of Commerce December luncheon.

"My father had 18 years of perfect attendance in the Rotary Club, and I can't tell you how much this means to me," Armstrong said once the standing ovation commenced. "But I feel like it was a team effort to get here."

It was the mayor's long history of service to the community that earned him the honor, Calvo said during the introduction.

Armstrong's volunteer work spans decades, he said, noting he worked with the Victoria Jaycees for years and was named president in 1965. In 1972, he said, Armstrong received the Distinguished Service Award from that same organization.

His work doesn't end there.

Armstrong is an artist, photographer and lover of astronomy, Calvo said. He was part of the Victoria Community Center's first board of directors and gave his time to the Victoria Planning Commission.

He served three terms on the Victoria City Council before his time as mayor and played a key role in passing the city's second largest bond for street and drainage improvements.

"So we can thank the gentleman for all of the debt the city has," Calvo joked.

Randy Vivian, the chamber's president and CEO, said he felt the mayor deserved the recognition.

He's been actively involved in the government and civic activities since the 1950s and, with the businesses he owns in town and the work he does, the man is firmly entrenched in the Crossroads.

"The things he's done for this community are pretty incredible," Vivian said.

Armstrong's wife, Linda Armstrong, sat in the back of the room Wednesday, staying out of her husband's line of sight to avoid spoiling the award's surprise. She said she was proud of him, regardless of his ensemble.

"I told him to wear a jacket, but he wouldn't do it," she said with a smile.

Attempts to change his mind regarding the blue jeans also failed.

Will Armstrong said he appreciated the recognition, but admitted he didn't do it alone. He has help from both the city and county, he said, as well as agencies such as the Victoria Economic Development Corp., chamber and Crossroads industries.

Timing also has a lot to do with it, he said, noting that new industry moving in, along with ongoing oil and gas activity, mean big things are happening in Victoria.

"I think the best is yet to come," he said.

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