EFFINGHAM — Saturday was a historic evening for Effingham County.
For the first time in the 28-year history of the Effingham Daily News Citizen of the Year, selection panelists couldn't agree on a single recipient.
So they picked two.
Nurse and longtime community volunteer Carol Toney and doctor-artist-volunteer Dr. Ruben Boyajian were selected as Citizens of the Year. Toney and Boyajian received their awards at the annual Effingham County Chamber of Commerce banquet at the Thelma Keller Convention Center.
Toney, one of 15 children, has spearheaded the annual community Christmas dinner at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for 25 years. She also volunteers with the Sacred Heart youth group and has led numerous foreign mission trips. She has also served the community as a volunteer for Catholic Charities and the Cross at the Crossroads.
Boyajian, a native of Uruguay who has lived in Effingham for 35 years, is well-known in the community as a caring surgeon who has a particular interest in women's health issues. He has also been involved for many years with a variety of organizations, most notably the American Cancer Society and the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association.
Both recipients credited God for the spirit that led them to serve their community.
"God gets the glory, not me," Toney said. "God has blessed me so much."
"Life is very short and we have to do what we can with the time that God gives us," added Boyajian.
Also Saturday, the Chamber honored Ron Mietzner as Volunteer of the Year, and the Chamber's Excellence in Business awards were given to First National Bank of Dieterich and Versatech.
For more, see Monday's print and e-editions of Effingham Daily News and look for a special section highlighting the two winners in Friday's edition.