Editorial: Our people of the year

After the rush of the summer season and the crush of visitors during pumpkin-picking time in autumn, the North Fork can again assume the guise of a sleepy little farming community when the holiday season ends and a new year begins. But that’s not why there’s no “hard” news in the first part of this week’s edition.

In keeping with tradition, we name our People of the Year in those pages and explain why we believe they deserve to be so honored. It’s not a popularity contest and we don’t tally votes à la “American Idol.” Each fall, we put out the word that, to paraphrase the Marine Corps recruiting poster, we’re looking for a few good people — five to be exact. Our editorial board then considers the nominations we receive or the staff may contribute. Our goal is to find those among us whose efforts — often unknown to many, if not most — help make Southold the special place it is.

We’re pretty sure we succeeded in identifying unsung heroes who made, and continue to make, a difference.

Don’t let the week go by without reading all about our overall people of the year, public servant of the year, civic person of the year, business person of the year and educator of the year. We’re happy to be able to say that they’re not the only people in Southold deserving of such accolades. Each year our real challenge is not finding people to honor but selecting just one for each category from among the many people who fit the criteria to a T. Don’t be dismayed if someone you may have nominated wasn’t chosen this year. It’s not unheard of for one year’s runner-up to be the next year’s honoree. But bear in mind that the competition is usually pretty stiff. And that’s a very good thing.

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