Citizen of the Year
Citizen of the Year
John Genitti Citizen of the Year Award Nomination
Each year since 1976, the Northville Chamber of Commerce celebrates the dedication and commitment of community members that give their time, energy and talent to make Northville a special place to live, work and play. One citizen is recognized with the Citizen of the Year award. In 2014, the award was designated the “John Genitti Citizen of the Year Award”, in honor of local resident and businessman John Genitti.
The Citizen of the Year receives a place of honor in: the Independence Day Parade, the Victorian Heritage Festival Parade and the Holiday Lighted Parade.
Criteria for Nomination:
- Be involved in actively supporting (through time, talent or financial support) an organization that improves our community.
- Live or work in the Northville Community.
- Show concern for community, environment and family.
- Be a role model for community youth and citizens.
Citizen of the Year Past Recipients
2023 - Sue Hillebrand
"Sue Hillebrand is a giver. It was true when she was the Township clerk from 1992-2019 and it is true today. Despite retiring, she continues to give her time and talent to the Northville Township community, the Clerk’s Office and her family. She is quick to volunteer or lend a helping hand. Sue has kept an open door to the community that she helped nurture after 26 years with the Township, where she conducted 50 successful elections, making her the longest elected clerk in Northville Township. Sue excels at being a mentor. When current Township Clerk Roger Lundberg needed assistance navigating the complex world of liquor licenses, Sue jumped in. This came on the heels of answering questions regarding business registrations. Did I mention she is retired? “When I first started, it was Sue Hillebrand who spent the time showing me the ropes,” Clerk Lundberg said. “She is such a great resource.” Sue’s dedication and motivation is simple: She loves to help and she loves Northville Township. She has lived here 35+ years and to this day remains a great role model to all. Her record is awe-inspiring. Sue nurtured the Clerk’s Office during an unprecedented period of growth in the Township. She helped put the Clerk’s Office on the map in terms of professionalism by earning the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2009. It is a title very few hold in the United States because it’s an extensive and rigorous program. She volunteered on both the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks’ Board and the Association of Wayne County Clerks’ Board as well. She was elected the MAMC Township Clerk of the Year in 2008 for her involvement and interest in improving her professional field. Sue also served the community as a member of the Northville Township Board of Trustees, Beautification Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission. Sue has always been there for her family, too. When her son and daughter-in-law learned they were having twins, Sue and her husband, Tom, bought a Northville Township house a few doors down from them. She wanted to be nearby to help with her three granddaughters. Sue is an amazing mother and doting grandmother. Sue is a shining example of servant leadership. She is a source of inspiration to all. For this and so many other reasons, please choose Sue Hillebrand as the John Genitti Citizen of the Year."
2022 - Mary Kay Gallagher
Mary Kay Gallagher started influencing children and families as a Preschool Teacher and Program Coordinator in the 1980’s, then in the capacity of Northville Elementary Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and lastly as Superintendent. She has impacted multiple generations of children, families, staff and community members.
She is part of the fabric of the Northville community and there is no better role model for our youth than Mary Kay Gallagher. She has the highest level of integrity and the moral awareness to know the good, love the good and do the good. She has served the Northville school district and community with strength, courage, kindness and compassion. She is selfless and makes decisions with the interest of students first. She has always led our district with her strength, vision and resiliency. Mary Kay has unlimited energy - it seems she never sleeps! She is a constant presence within the school district, from board meetings to school plays. She makes it a priority to show up for our kids. Mary Kay’s reach extends far beyond Northville Public Schools. She has had a positive impact on thousands of Northville youth and as a result they have been well positioned to launch into successful adulthood and go on to impact our world.
2019 - Lindsay Dogonski
Lindsay was born and raised in Northville and graduated from Northville High School in 1995. She earned a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green University, and a bachelor's degree in Mortuary Science from Wayne State University in 1999 so she could work in the family business. She is a 4th generation business owner/operator of Casterline Funeral Home, which has been in Northville since 1937. Lindsay has guided many Northville families through one of the most difficult times in their lives, her caring and compassion for people is evident in her work she does daily.
- She continues the Casterline tradition of supporting local organizations, including the Northville Chamber of Commerce, Northville Parks and Recreation, and the local VFW by passing out ice cream each Memorial Day.
- She is an active member in the Northville Rotary and works tirelessly on many fund-raising projects including Tour De Ville, clean up days at Maybury Farm, participating in the Northville Holiday Parade, and serving on the Foundation Board.
- She is a founding member of KidsGala, which is a charity that provides parties to children facing a live changing event.
- She has also worked with the Duke and John Foundation which is another Northville-based charity for children that provides prosthesis for young children.
- She is involved at Allen Terrace where she has been calling Bingo for the last 2 years.
“Lindsey truly puts the Northville Community first in everything she does and is always willing to help and be a part of many of the events and traditions that make Northville such a great town.”
2018 - Chuck Murdock
Chuck Murdock is dedicated and committed to making the Northville community a special place to live, work and play. He worked at Ford Motor Company as an engineer and program manager for 27 years. He and his wife, Andrea, have lived in the City of Northville since 1989 in the Northville Estates subdivision. Chuck and Andrea have one daughter who lives in Florida.
- Chuck is active in his homeowner’s association, serving as President of the Northville Estates Homeowners association.
- He serves the senior adults of Northville by volunteering with AARP, that provides free income tax preparation services for senior adults.
- He serves on the City of Northville Historic District Commission that regulates development within the city’s designated historic district boundaries.
- He is a volunteer of the Northville District Library, assisting with the Summer Reading Program, Battle of the Books, the Friends’ Used Book Sales and delivery of books to homebound residents.
- He has volunteered with the Historical Society for some events in the past, such as the cemetery walks, and Victorian clothing sales.
- He also helps to coordinate meetings, arranging for speakers and luncheons for a retiree group of Ford Truck program employees
- Chuck and his wife Andrea, spend an enormous amount of time and energy volunteering with the Friends of Maybury State Park. Along with serving as Board President, Chuck helps to conduct invasive species testing, monitoring bluebird house nesting, organizes the Friends of Maybury events and programs. Chuck spends several hours each week at the park, volunteering for numerous tasks, most recently spearheading the effort to install THE LINK non-motorized path signs.
- As a mentor in the Northville Youth Assistance program, Chuck has changed the lives of several young residents by spending time listening and providing an adult role model for kids that need an extra adult in their lives.
2017 - Chuck Lapham
Chuck Lapham was born and raised in Northville, graduated from Northville High School and has been actively involved as a resident, business and land owner in Northville for over 80+ years. He worked in the family business (Lapham Clothing Store in downtown Northville) and has been married over 60 years to his wife Maxine.
- He served in the Armed Forces during the Korean War
- He is one of the founding members of the Northville Area Development Corporation, founded in 1962
- He served on Northville's City Council from 1968-1972
- He was active in the Northville Merchant Association and Northville Jaycees
- He was the founder of the Tipping Point Theatre, which included the donation of land for development, and he continues to support the theatre whenever he can
- He donated land for the Comerica Walkway
- He was a supporter of the Marquis Theatre, Northville, MI flag mural
"I only did what came naturally," said Chuck.
He lives here, works here and is respectfully concerned with the community, the environment and our families. He is the quintessential role model for Northville citizens of all ages. Thank you for supporting the Northville community Chuck!
2016 - Lauren Romeo
Born and raised in Northville, Lauren graduated from Northville High School in 1996 and lives in Northville with her husband, Drew, and two children, Charley and Hudson.
In 2012, Lauren created and started administering the local nonprofit Main Street League. As of 2016, MSL consists of over 160 members, raising and donating funds for the following organizations:
- Vista Maria
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- Northville Civic Concern
- Northville Youth Assistance
- First Step Domestic Violence
- Funded two (2) Northville High School Scholarships
Created and managed MSL events that include:
- Juniors Backpack Drive – filling 100 backpacks with school supplies and gift cards for children in need.
- Amazing Grapes – fundraising dollars donated to Civic Concern
- Diaper Drive
The Main Street League has assisted countless children in the Northville community and also raised the community awareness that the need is great, creating a fun and tangible way to help those in need.
- Serves on the Northville Youth Assistance Commission
- Northville Chamber of Commerce Board Member
Her dedication to Northville is truly remarkable. Lauren in constantly helping the community in any way she can. I see her at each and every event, always willing to volunteer or lend a helping hand. Whenever there is a need or a cause to someone just needs a helping hand, Lauren is the first one to say “yes”.
2015 - Christopher Johnson
2014 - Ken Roth
2013 - Michele Fecht
2012 - Mark Abbo
2011 - William Demray, DDS
2010 - David Jerome
2009 - Carol Poenisch
2008 - John McGuire
2007 - Richard Henningsen
2006 - Jan Purtell
2005 - Richard Allen
2004 - Jim Nield / Sonia Swigart
2003 - Joan Wadsworth
2002 - Robert "Bob" Russell
2001 - Martha L. Nield
2000 - Marvin "Marv" Gans
1999 - Eraine M. Witzke
1998 - Robert Frellick
1997 - Charlie Stilec
1996 - Kathi Jerome
1995 - Bill and Carol Stockhausen
1994 - Mitch Deeb
1993 - Paul Folino
1992 - Greg Presley / Marlene Kunz
1991 - Jean Hansen
1990 - John and Toni Genitti
1989 - Bruce Turnbull
1988 - Laura A. Hicks
1987 - Paul Vernon
1986 - Francis Pershing Gazlay
Mr. Gazlay was born to Henry Johnstone Gazlay and Jesse Freer Gazlay on December 10, 1918 in Detroit. He attended Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Olivet College in 1942. The same year he married Elizabeth Pettitt Gazlay and entered the United States Army Air Corps serving as a flight instructor during World War II. Returning to Detroit after the war he earned a Master's Degree in Education at Wayne State University and taught high school Economics and Social Studies in Detroit until his retirement. Moving to Northville in 1950, he became involved in civic and historical pursuits, serving on the City Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Historical District Commission. He was a charter member of the Northville Historical Society and a key player in the development of the Mill Race Historical Village.Gazlay passed at the age of 93 on Monday, May 21, 2012 at Presbyterian Village of Redford Michigan.https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/detroitnews/name/francis-gazlay-obituary?id=42434472
1985 - Russell Amerman
1984 - Norma Vernon
1983 - Dewey Gardner
1982 - William C. Sliger
1981 - Jack L. Hoffman
Northville Record editor and author of "Northville... The First Hundred Years".
1980 - Philip Oglivie
1979 - Essie Nirider
1978 - John Stimel
Northville Postmaster 1965-81 (acting, 1965-67)
1977 - A. M. "Mike" Allen
Mayor from 1958-77
1976 - Jan Reef
Helped to fix the Northville Well as a leading Rotarian