Catrina Alexander is the 2017 Citizen of the Year for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber presented Alexander with the honor at Thursday evening’s annual event at Cross Creek Country Club.
The chamber received about a dozen nominations from the community, said Randy Collins, chamber president and CEO.
Alexander is the director of parks and recreation for the city, but there is little that happens in the Granite City that she doesn’t have a hand in.
“Despite an executive-level job, a spouse and two children, our nominee finds the time to be involved in a leadership position with Surry Sunrise Rotary, United Fund, Surry Friends of Youth, the Heritage Club, the relocation and retirement committee and numerous other groups and associations,” said Teresa Lewis, whose company Workforce Unlimited sponsored the award.
“With an impressive network of business and community leaders, this person is definitely an advocate for business growth and an ambassador for our chamber, our city and our county,” said Lewis.
Chad Tidd, owner/operator of the local Chick-fil-A, nominated Alexander.
“I’ve seen her utilize her strength,” said Tidd. She is a visionary with good direction for the community. She has been key to attracting both new business and tourists.
Catrina is extremely involved in the Sunrise Rotary Club, Tidd noted. She is instrumental in working with young children through Reeves Community Center’s summer program.
“I have personally witnessed her caring for individual families,” he said, going above and beyond to quietly serve them in many different capacities.
Part of what she brings to the table is that she is a true community partner, he said. She understands how to get folks to work well together. She can facilitate growth and provide a great element of leadership. Just look at her efforts to complete the greenway loop, which has been great for the community and draws many visitors, he said.
Others in the city agree with Tidd that Alexander does many things that go unnoticed because she isn’t one to draw attention to herself.
Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, is chairing the 2016-2017 fundraising campaign for the United Fund of Surry. He admitted he had some big shoes to fill after Alexander chaired the campaign for 2015-16 and did such a great job.
As director of parks and recreation, Alexander wears many hats. She either directly works on or supervises a number of duties and events.
Among the duties of her department are:
• Providing attractive and appropriate facilities, primarily for recreation
• Maintaining a safe, family-oriented atmosphere
• Offering quality, comprehensive programs including aquatics, athletics, and group fitness
• Having clear and reasonable policies on participation packages
• Assessing for public input and offering educational reports to the community
Alexander’s department works with RCC on planning fitness events like 5K runs and walks, supports the Mount Airy Sports Hall of Fame and includes the grounds maintenance staff that keeps all of the city property looking sharp. She also has a working relationship with her counterparts at the Surry County Parks and Recreation Department.
In announcing the winner, Lewis quoted a coworker about Alexander. “This individual is a visionary who sees the big picture for the entire city and county. This person is a true pleasure to work with, and under their guidance and leadership, our organization has improved considerably over the past 12 years.”
Mayor David Rowe noted that the city is “known both regionally and statewide for our recreational facilities, (and that) there is one person, for the most part, responsible for that distinction. … From the often-used greenway to Riverside Park to Westwood Park, this person’s efforts have been a great asset to Mount Airy.”
Alexander grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and attended Riverview High School, graduating in 1987.
In just three years, Alexander earned her Bachelor of Science degree in parks and recreation management from Western Carolina University.
When she came to Mount Airy a quarter of a century ago, Alexander said she knew no one, but very quickly everyone made her feel right at home.
She thanked everyone for the award and added that she is proud to say that her children have grown up through the Mount Airy City Schools district and have enjoyed youth programs at Reeves Community Center.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.