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Person of the Year a Secret No More Come Wednesday

April 13, 2009 — It's the time of year for hiding Easter eggs, which are usually not too hard to find. It's also the time when the Rotary Club of St. Thomas II will announce the identity of its Person of the Year.
The Easter eggs are easy, but the Person of the Year has never, ever been revealed before its time. At least according to recorded history dating back to those stone tablets — no, really, dating back to 1981, when Wilbur "Bill" LaMotta received the first award.
The popular community guessing game will be over Wednesday at the club's noon luncheon at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, when a Lladro statuette of Don Quixote — Miguel de Cervantes' valiant knight-errant — will be presented to the person Rotary Club of St. Thomas II has deemed most deserving of the honor.
The Person of the Year will not be selected on the basis of Quixote's "quixotic qualities;" he or she need not tilt at windmills literally, but the person must reflect the knight's generous idealism, his visionary qualities. The honoree must have demonstrated Quixote's determination when flailing at those windmills in efforts for the good of the community.
Person of the Year Committee Chair Elliott MacIver Davis, who traditionally is "keeper of the secret," is, traditionally (and annoyingly) good at his job. Alas, this year is no different.
"The suspense and surprise is an important part of any presentation," Davis said in a release. "At the ceremony, tension will mount as members and guests, who customarily include many past participants, review those present to identify the most dedicate community leader present.
"This year, the pundits and prognosticators will have to be on their A game, because our recipient is something of an unsung hero."
So much for that. The Source caught Davis off guard Monday afternoon, hoping for the Big Slip.
No dice. In carefully measured words, Davis said: "I am excited about this year's recipient, a humble person who through hard work and dedication has accomplished something of which any of us would be proud."
Notice no pronouns in the precisely chosen words.
"And no preposition at the end of the sentence, either," Davis allowed.
Club President Beris Lynch said, "As an important part of our service work in the community, we recognize character, determination and selflessness to encourage these traits in our young people."
He explained the secret is kept secret from all those except those who need to know, adding, "I don't even know who will receive the award."
Award committee member Horace Callwood said, "As is traditional, this year we have received and reviewed numerous nominations during our annual search for the man or woman to be named Person of the Year," shedding about as much light as Davis and Lynch combined.
Previous persons of the year: LaMotta, Davis, Albert Aubain, Gov. Roy Schneider, Costas Coulianos, Calvin Wheatley, Dr. Alfred Heath, Gov. Alexander Farrelly, Irvin "Brownie" Brown, Delegate Ron de Lugo, Dilsa Capdeville, Athniel "Addie" Ottley, Judge Verne Hodge, Leona Bryant, Edward Thomas, Juel Molloy, Vinnie Mohanani, Sen. Lorraine Berry, Nick Pourzal, Randy Knight, John DeJongh Jr., Shaun Pennington, LaVerne Ragster, Rodney Miller, Suzanne Robinson, Joseph Aubain, Cecile deJongh and last year's recipient, V.I. Inspector General Steven van Beverhoudt.
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