An ever-humble Cindy Faldon was named the 2014 winner of the Iverson Riggs Memorial Citizen of the Year Award.
The announcement was made Thursday night at the conclusion of the 59th annual Van Buren Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and banquet in the Commons Area of Van Buren High School.
Faldon, the chief professional officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren, was recognized for going above-and-beyond her role as executive director of the club in her compassion and mentoring the children of the community.
"I just love these kids," Faldon said. "But, everybody in this room has given back in some way to our kids."
Faldon said the Iverson Riggs award means a lot to her, but "I could not do what I do without the support of the community."
The Iverson Riggs Citizen of the Year Award is given to an individual or individuals who have made exemplary contributions of time, talent or resources to the community, according to Lisa Huckelbury, chamber president.
The award was established in 1987 in memory of Iverson Riggs, founder and publisher of the Van Buren Courier newspaper.
Last year’s award recipient Jim Petty, a member of the board of directors at the club, said Faldon’s positive attitude and passion about what she is doing inspires others.
Faldon’s close friend Tracy Hamm said Faldon has a passion for the well being of the children of Crawford County.
"That passion is seen daily throughout her duties performed at the boys and girls club," Hamm said. "She gets to know the children on a personal level and I know many children have turned to her for advice and help in their person lives. Many lives have been changed because of choices that Cindy has made at the boys and girls club."
Hamm recalls Faldon having second thoughts about accepting the position of chief professional officer for the local club.
"I always had 100 percent faith in all of her abilities and knew that she could make all the dreams and goals become a reality," Hamm said. "Now, we sit back and look at a club that is operating in a brand new building that is 100 percent paid for because my friend had the vision, the dream and the determination to make it become a reality."
Hamm pointed out the number of kids coming to the club has more than doubled during Faldon’s four years as director.
"With the help and the supporters in the community that she had to help her along the way, this was all made possible," Hamm said. "She has dedicated many long hours to the club, the Field of Dreams, her staff at the club and all the local organizations."
Hamm said Faldon will continue to work hard for the community she dearly loves.
"She is very passionate about Van Buren and its future," Hamm said, "and for this reason deserves to be citizen of the year."
Faldon, a lifelong resident of the area, is a graduate of Van Buren High School. She was employed by the Van Buren Boys and Girls Club for 11 years before accepting the director’s position four years ago.
Over the past four years under Faldon’s direction, the club has started several new programs, including Smart Girls, Character and Leadership Development, Education and Career Development, Health and Life Skills, Arts and Sports and Fitness and Recreation.
She was named the Boys and Girls Club Southwest Region rookie of the year in 2011 and is a members of the Boys and Girls Club American Professionals Association.
Faldon is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Crawford County and a member of Van Buren Kiwanis Club and Crawford County Optimist Club.