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Meet Dublin’s Citizen of the Year: Chris Bennett

February 25, 2011

Dublin Citizen of the Year 2010 Chris Bennett

 

by Michael Utsumi

If you’ve lived in Dublin for any period of time, you may be aware of a recognition program that annually honors a Citizen, Young Citizen and an Organization for their outstanding work and achievements in the past year.

The nomination criterion for the awards is based on the Dublin Pride – Integrity in Action Program’s Ten Characteristics:  Responsibility, Respectfulness, Caring, Giving, Positive Attitude, Trustworthiness, Cooperation, Doing One’s Best, Honesty and Self-Discipline.

On the surface, this is a very ambitious list of qualities for one to possess and to even be considered for this honor. In truth, we are fortunate to have scores of residents in our fair city that unselfishly give their time, effort and resources to various causes that benefit our entire community. What is very clear is that those who choose to volunteer do so without the need or desire for recognition.  They simply gift their talents for the betterment of Dublin.  On February 18, the City of Dublin hosted a reception at the Shannon Center to salute the awardees for 2010.  We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the City of Dublin’s Citizen of the Year for 2010, Chris Bennett.

Chris is a married mother of two with children currently attending both Wells Middle School and Dublin High School.  She is a principal with the organizational consulting firm, WorkVantage, Inc.  As a newcomer to Dublin in the 1990’s, Ms. Bennett immediately embraced various opportunities to become a part of the community. She accepted parent leadership positions at Frederiksen Elementary School, Wells Middle School and at Dublin High School.  Chris has served as a board member on the Dublin Partners in Education (DPIE) for more than 12 years. She is also a very active parent with the Wells Band, the Dublin High Band Boosters / PFSO and the Dublin High Drama Department.  In her spare time she sings with her church choir. In other words, a long list of volunteer credentials for consideration.

OneDublin.org recently sat down with Chris to talk to her about the award:

OneDublin.org:   How were you notified that you had won this honor?

Chris Bennett: “Well, we had received our daily mail and in there was a letter from the City Manager’s office asking if we could attend the ceremony on February 18.  My husband, Rob, already had seen the letter and he playfully asked if we should attend.”

OneDublin.org:  What was your reaction to being nominated?

Bennett: “I couldn’t believe that someone or some people had stepped up and produced a nomination on my behalf. There are so many in this community that are deserving of this honor”.

OneDublin.org:  Let’s get to the actual presentation night and what it meant to you.

Bennett: “A couple of things. On the evening at Shannon, the nominations letters were enlarged and posted so that everyone could read them.  It was nice to read all of the statements that were written on behalf of the nominees.  It was a confirmation for what all this ceremony represents.  As for what it meant to me?  It really just reinforced that this type of event begets volunteerism.  While letting the community recognize service – it empowers all of us to get involved and to make a contribution.  We all become empowered”.  I think that we feel the same way now, Chris.

In order to win an award, you must be nominated.  In this case, we sought out the author of the nomination letter and her approach. Chris Bennett’s nomination letter for the 2010 Dublin Citizen of the Year was submitted by Ms. Kristen Finn.  Kristen is a parent of two children within the Dublin Unified School District and is an active parent volunteer at both Wells Middle School and Dublin High School.

OneDublin.org:  What was your approach to the nomination for Chris?

Kristen Finn: “We had been thinking about this honor for quite some time and wanted to put something forward.  Frankly, I had a lot of help from DPIE board members Fawn Holeman and Kellee Jones in putting this all together.”

OneDublin.org:  Beyond the stated qualities for this honor, tell us a bit more about why Chris earned this recognition.

Finn: “In numerous forums I’ve seen Chris bring people together.  She is able to see the positive in all of us.  While Chris does not seek out recognition, the ultimate irony is that she’s receiving it.  It’s so richly deserved.”

Congratulations Chris Bennett on your service to our community – and for serving as a role model for other volunteers.

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Below is the full text of Chris Bennett’s winning nomination for Dublin Citizen of the Year:

Dear Voting Committee, I am writing to nominate my friend and colleague, Chris Bennett, for Dublin Citizen of the Year. Why nominate Chris Bennett for Dublin Citizen of the Year, one might ask? The bigger question is why not? Chris Bennett fits the description of Citizen of the Year beautifully. She has served on the Board of Dublin Partners in Education (DPIE), Dublin’s only non-profit education foundation, for more than 12 years, and she is currently serving as DPIE’s Co-Secretary. As a DPIE Board Member, Chris was instrumental in providing supplementary funding and coordinating community support for a variety of valuable district-wide programs, which dramatically enhance the quality of education offered to our students.

In addition to coordinating several district-wide programs, DPIE awarded the School District a $50,000 grant in 2010. Chris has also been an active participant with the Barton Tutoring program, a DPIE signature program, at Wells Middle School for several years. She also facilitated a DPIE-sponsored career mentoring program that brought local business leaders to Dublin High School for lunchtime presentations. Chris’s commitment to volunteerism goes well beyond her work with DPIE. She is currently Co-President of the Wells PFC, which includes monthly meetings with the Superintendent Council. She was previously the Co-President of the Frederiksen Elementary School PFC, and she has served on many Dublin Unified School District advisory committees. She is also a very active parent with the Wells Band, the Dublin High Band Boosters, the Dublin High PFSO, the DHS Class of 2012, and the DHS Drama Department.

Chris has been a member of all of these organizations for many years. Why does Chris spend so much of her time with all of these different organizations? Because she cares! She cares about the students in our city, and she cares about our community. I have known Chris for many years and have sat on many committees with her and worked with her at multiple functions. I am always so impressed by how she handles herself; she always shows great respect for people, even under the most trying of circumstances. She has a great ability to find something positive in any situation. One trait I admire the most about her is her ability to stand up for someone who is not able to stand up for themselves, and to do it in such away that everyone is better for it. She is always willing to do the job that others typically do not want to do, and she does it with a smile. Chris is also very honest, even in times when being honest with someone or a group might not be the politically correct thing to do. And again, she exhibits the ability to do this with a positive attitude and respectfulness that is so unique to her personality. So why should Chris Bennett be voted as Dublin’s Citizen of the Year? Because she is a tireless volunteer and community supporter who is extremely responsible and, most importantly, trustworthy. Whatever she says she will do, she will. I have never known her to not fulfill a commitment or to not complete it at 110%. This is why I feel Chris Bennett should be voted as Dublin’s Citizen of the Year Thank you very much for your consideration.

 

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3 Comments
  1. Cindy Young permalink
    February 25, 2011 3:00 pm

    I am so honored to say that I know, Chris! Couldn’t think of someone more deserved than this wonderful woman!!

  2. Paul D. Everts permalink
    February 26, 2011 11:28 pm

    It is nice to see an award given to a person who deserves it. In my short three years of teaching at Dublin High School, our music program has been blessed by Chris’ (and her family) giving heart. She certainly has made a positive impact on our enitre district. CONGRATULATIONS.

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