The Carroll Times Herald’s Douglas Burns was named Carroll’s Citizen of the Year Monday night — making him the third generation, and fourth recipient, in his family to receive the honor.
The award was announced at the annual Carroll Chamber of Commerce banquet at the Carrollton Centre — and was a successful surprise, joked Burns, who usually knows the recipient ahead of time.
In years past, Burns’ grandfather, James W. Wilson, his uncle, Jim Wilson, and his mother, Ann Wilson, all of whom have worked as owner and publisher of the Carroll Times Herald, have been Citizen of the Year honorees.
“My mom, for her whole life, has modeled public service to me,” Burns said. “My grandfather did that; my uncle did that. They all taught me that when you’re part of a community, you’re supposed to give more to the community than you take.”
Burns thanked those in the room and the community who have supported the newspaper during its transition last year to a twice-weekly print format that focuses more on online publication.
“I’ve tried to be there for you in your difficult moments,” he said. “It’s a very humbling thing to be allowed into your homes to tell stories after young people have died in accidents, to be there to celebrate successes of new businesses opening like (Austin Scott’s Fusebox Marketing), which was celebrated tonight, to be able to cover and promote talented new elected officials like (Carroll County Supervisor) Stephanie Hausman.”
Burns in involved in a raft of area initiatives, including the Carroll Area Development Corporation, the Highway 30 Coalition of Iowa, the Carroll Library Foundation, the Carroll High School Foundation, the Des Moines Area Community College Board of Directors and much more.
Last year’s Citizen of the Year, St. Anthony Regional Hospital President and CEO Ed Smith, introduced Burns, noting his local involvement, in particular his efforts in advancing Carroll’s upgraded library.
“His leadership really helped us to have a showcase library, and I’m very proud of that,” Smith said. “This year’s recipient has worked his life at making Carroll a better place to live.”
See full coverage of the banquet and its honorees and a recap of the Chamber's year in a special section being published in Friday's Times Herald.