The City of Fort Lauderdale initiated the Citizen Recognition Program in 1972. The purpose of the program is to give public recognition to citizens who contributed in significant ways to the development of this community.
Honorees are selected by the Citizens’ Committee of Recognition, which consists of all former mayors of Fort Lauderdale, as well as one former honoree and the president of the Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations.
In 1983, the Citizens’ Committee of Recognition recommended that, effective in 1984, the Citizen Recognition Program would be revised to include a Citizen of the Year and a Distinguished Citizen honoree. The program was again amended in 1989 to include an Honored Founder category effective in 1990. In 1997, the category of Exemplary Former City Employee was added.
Citizen of the Year – Jorg Hruschka
Jorg Hruschka is a shining example of volunteer service that benefits the City and the citizens of Fort Lauderdale. Over the past year, he has spearheaded the following projects with successful results: (1) Organized the “Have A Heart” collection drive through the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale to benefit Lifenet4Families; (2) Built a float for the Building Officials of Broward County, enabling them to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and gain positive recognition for the work they do; (3) Organized the “Hope Floats” fundraising event in Esplanade Park that benefited Tomorrow’s Rainbow; and (4) created and organized the Code Awareness and Safety Expo at War Memorial Auditorium that brought together building officials from cities, counties and municipalities throughout South Florida.
Jorg is humble and selfless in his efforts. He is a true leader and role model who continues to amaze and inspire those around him. His efforts to improve Fort Lauderdale by raising funds to benefit those in need, improving properties within the City, and supporting and recognizing our troops, are outstanding example of how one person can truly make a difference. Jorg eschews personal credit and always generously recognizes those who come together as a result of his efforts. When Jorg conceives a vision, he works to make it a reality and ensure that it benefits the community.
Distinguished Citizen – Betty Shelley
Betty Shelley is lady of incredible energy and commitment. Her commitment to the community began early in her career when she was a teacher at Christ School Church and a volunteer at McNab Elementary School. Betty took an immediate interest in her neighborhood, Imperial Point. She participated in the neighborhood association and made her first mark by creating the Welcome Basket Program. In the late 1990s, Betty became President of the Imperial Point Association and organized the first Park Festival.
Today, it is known as the Fall Harvest Festival, and has developed into Imperial Point’s signature annual event. Through Betty’s leadership and dedication, numerous other events and activities have become annual neighborhood gatherings, including the Spring Fling, Winter in The Park, Pet Parade, and Neighborhood Yard Sales.
She keeps residents well-informed and connected through the Imperial Point monthly newsletter, which started as a few simple black-and-white pages. Over the years, Betty has been able to expand the publication, add color, and include more extensive articles and advertisers. She continues the critical job of securing new advertisers, while maintaining relationships with current sponsors. Betty always makes herself available to listen to neighbors’ questions and concerns and, through her many contacts, often seems to perform miracles. Keeping residents informed and connected keeps the Association vital and effective.
When she is not busy leading the Imperial Point Homeowners Association, Betty finds time to volunteer at the Broward Health Imperial Point Hospital on the Patient Safety Committee. In earlier years, she served on the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Community Appearance Board and is a long-term member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Education Advisory Board.
Honored Founder – Beauregard Cummings
Beauregard Cummings is a native of Fort Lauderdale who moves as a quiet spirit, unassuming yet powerful. Beauregard was educated in the Broward County School System and graduated from the Old Dillard School. He continued his education at Tuskegee Institute and Florida A & M College. He completed further studies at the University of Pittsburgh, the Wharton School of Finance, the General Electric School of Management, the YMCA School of Management and the OIC School of Management.
Beauregard is the organizer of the original Urban League interest group, a charter member of the Fort Lauderdale Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the original manager of Broward After School Care program, co-founder of the Trailblazers of Broward County, and founder and first manager of the OIC.
Beauregard spearheaded the redesign, renovation and renaming of the Northwest YMCA branch as the L.A. Lee Branch of the YMCA. He has served as a Trustee at St. John’s Methodist Church and First Baptist Church, Piney Grove. He also served on the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Centennial Celebration Committee, where he was instrumental in working with acclaimed director Tony Thompson of the Metropolitan Diversity Theatre Company on the production of “Mangos, Guavas & Mullet: A History of the Lifestyle of the Black Community of Fort Lauderdale, 1900 - 2011.”
Beauregard was the first male vocalist to receive a scholarship to Florida A & M College and he sang with the famed Grant Lake Naval Choir during WWII.
Honored Founder – Marti Huizenga
A native Floridian, Marti Huizenga resides in Fort Lauderdale with her husband, Wayne, and their four children and 11 grandchildren. Marti and her husband are well-known for being the founders of three Fortune 500 companies, Waste Management, Blockbuster Entertainment, and AutoNation, as well as the former owners of the Miami Dolphins, the Florida Marlins and the Florida Panthers.
The Huizenga’s business success is matched only by their desire to give back to the community. Thanks in large part to Marti’s philanthropic endeavors, today, the City of Fort Lauderdale offers world-class performing arts, award-winning arts and science museums, and a vibrant historic district.
Through the Huizenga Family Foundation, Marti Huizenga has donated more than $100 million to local non-profit and charitable organizations, while providing funding for the Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University to ensure that future generations continue to carry on the entrepreneurial spirit and tradition that has greatly contributed to the progress and advancement of the City of Fort Lauderdale.
Marti has served on boards of many local health, youth, social service and cultural organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County and the Humane Society of Broward County. She has received several honors for her support of the community, including the American Heart Association Golden Heart Award, the Silver Boys and Girls Club of America Medallion Award, the Habitat for Humanity of Broward Spirit of Humanity Award, the Sun-Sentinel Publisher’s Community Service Award, and the Child Care Connection Child Advocate of the Year award.
Exemplary Former City Employee – Sue Molnar
Sue Molnar exemplifies everything good in a City employee. Sue truly loved the City for which she worked. Sue was everywhere, doing everything and doing it with a smile.
During her tenure with the Parks and Recreation Department, Sue coordinated City events, processed outdoor event applications, and attended every City Commission meeting. When she was not working on a City project, Sue could be found manning the entrance at a Riverwalk event, coordinating an activity for the Women’s Club; or participating in any one of hundreds of volunteer projects where an extra hand was needed.
Since her retirement, Sue continues to actively promote the City of Fort Lauderdale and its programs, events and activities via Facebook, Linkedin and various other social media tools.