Citizens Recognition Awards


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 The Citizens Recognition Awards recognize Fort Lauderdale citizens whose efforts and achievements foster civic pride and responsibility, encourage public service, develop an appreciation of the City's heritage, and significantly contribute to the development of this community. Since the program’s inception in 1972, Fort Lauderdale has recognized more than 130 outstanding citizens. 

Past award recipients pdf
Videos from past honoree presentations
Photos from the 2017 awards event

Citizens Recognition Awards Event

Details about the annual Citizens Recognition Awards event will be posted to this page in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need more information, please call the Strategic Communications Office at (954) 828-4746 or email

Congratulations to our
2017 Citizens Recognition Awards Honorees

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Exemplary Former City Employee – Freddie "Gene" Dempsey

The Exemplary Former City Employee award recognizes a former City employee who has served the citizens of
Fort Lauderdale for a significant number of years and whose service has made a significant impact on the development
and quality of life for the community. This person may be retired, deceased or separated from the City.
Read the Exemplary Former City Employee pdf proclamation.
(Presented by Commissioner Robert L. McKinzie)

Citizen of the Year – Mary C. Fertig

The Citizen of the Year award is for that person who, in the opinion of the Committee and the City Commission, has made the greatest contribution to the community in the current year. The Citizen of the Year must be a Fort Lauderdale resident.
Read the Citizen of the Year pdf proclamation.
(Presented by then Commissioner/now Mayor Dean J. Trantalis)

Honored Founder –The Late Terry W. Stiles

The Honored Founder award is for a courageous citizen who prepared the way for future growth and
harmony in Fort Lauderdale.
Read the Honored Founder pdf proclamation.
(Presented by former Commissioner Romney Rogers)

Distinguished Citizen – Ronald J. Centamore

The Distinguished Citizen award is given to that resident of the community who has contributed to the development of Fort Lauderdale over a number of years (i.e., a pioneer).
Read the Distinguished Citizepdf proclamation.
(Presented by former Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts)

Program Timeline

  • 1972: The Citizens Recognition Program was initiated.
  • 1984: The Citizens Recognition Program was amended to include Citizen of the Year and Distinguished Citizen awards.
  • 1989:  The Honored Founder category was added to the program (effective 1990).
  • 1997:  The Exemplary Former City Employee category was added to the program.

Citizens Committee of Recognition

Each year, the Citizens Committee of Recognition - consisting of all former Mayors of Fort Lauderdale, as well as one former City Commissioner, two former honorees, and the President of the Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations or his/her designee -reviews nominations and provides their recommendations for the four annual awards to the City Commission for approval. Members of the Citizens Committee of Recognition include:

James Naugle, Former Mayor
John P. "Jack" Seiler, Former Mayor, Chairperson
John Rodstrom, Former Commissioner
Mary C. Fertig, Former Honoree
Michael Albetta, Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations Representative

Read Citizens Committee of Recognition meeting agendas and minutes.

Past Honoree Presentation Videos

Year Citizen of the Year Distinguished Citizen Honored Founder Exemplary Former City Employee
2015 Sharon Major-Hughes Donald Singer Stanford K. Smoker Greg Brewton
2016 Charles A. "Chuck" Black Michael C. Weymouth Dr. James Franklin Sistrunk Ava Bradley Moore
John F. Fuhrer

Opening Ceremony Videos

2016 Opening Ceremony


Citizens Recognition Awards 2017

Updated on November 20, 2017 3:41 PM

The City of Fort Lauderdale Citizens Recognition Program was established in 1972 to give public recognition to citizens who contributed to the development of this community in significant ways. This album contains photos from the 2017 Citizens Recognition Awards event, held November 7, 2017, where the City honored four outstanding citizens: Mary C. Fertig, Citizen of the Year; the late Terry W. Stiles, Honored Founder, Ronald J. Centamore, Distinguished Citizen, and the late Freddie "Gene" Dempsey, Exemplary Former Employee.