The Rotary Clubs of Suffolk present the First Citizen each year as a way to celebrate men and women in the Suffolk communities that exemplify what Rotary stands for, “Service Above Self”

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Dr. L.D. Britt

Reception Honoring Dr. L.D. Britt

WHEN: Tuesday, September 26 at 6 PM
WHERE: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
TICKETS: $35 until 9/4/2019; $50 after 9/4/2019 (see sponsorship below for other opportunities)

The Suffolk First Citizen Reception is a spectacular event with the opportunity to meet Suffolk’s finest and to show your appreciation for the winner.  Tickets are $35 a person if purchased before September 4 and $50 a person after that.  Sponsorships for this event are also available. All proceeds go directly to benefit Suffolk community charities and scholarships.


  1. Presenting Sponsor $3,000 — Includes 8 tickets plus website link

  2. Platinum $2,000 — Includes 6 tickets plus website link

  3. Diamond $1000 — Includes 4 tickets plus website link

  4. Gold $500 — Includes 3 tickets

  5. Silver $250 — Includes 2 tickets

  6. Bronze $150 — Includes 2 tickets

  7. Tickets $35 before September 4; Tickets $50 after September 4.

Exclusive opportunities

  1. Video Presenter $2,500 — Name at video lead and in credits; video stays live year round on the First Citizen website; includes 2 tickets

  2. Website Presenter $2,500 — Name as the presenter on the Official First Citizen website (inaugural opportunity); new website will launch September 26; included 2 tickets

  3. Bar Sponsor $3,000 — Signage at bar locations; includes 2 tickets

  4. Servicing Station Sponsor $1,250— Signage at representative food station

For more information on sponsorship, contact Russell Richards, 757-763-8941 or

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Your company name OR the individual name(s) for listing in the event program.
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See above for each sponsorship benefit.
What is the name of the Rotarian we can thank for you introducing you to the Suffolk First Citizen Reception?

The Suffolk and North Suffolk Rotary Clubs have announced the 2019 Suffolk First Citizen is Dr. L.D. Britt.

“I’m still stunned,” Britt said on Wednesday after having learned the news Tuesday evening. “While I’ve been honored and recognized all over the world, there’s nothing that can replace being honored by your city.”

Britt graduated as valedictorian from Booker T. Washington High School in Suffolk. He went on to graduate from the University of Virginia, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

Britt is the Henry Ford Professor and Edward J. Brickhouse Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School. He was the first African American in the country to have an endowed chair in surgery. He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery and the author of more than 300 scientific publications, editor of four books and more. He has held such esteemed positions as president of the American College of Surgeons, chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons, president of the American Surgical Association and more. He is a recipient of the nation’s highest teaching award in medicine, the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award, given by the American Association of Medical Colleges in conjunction with the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha.

Through it all, Britt says, he has never forgotten where he grew up.

He was born and raised in Suffolk and attended the public schools, he noted Wednesday. His mother taught in the segregated Suffolk Public Schools for 49 years and then for four more years after integration.

When Britt first was hired at EVMS, he said, he negotiated that the school would fund him to see patients in Suffolk every Tuesday pro bono, which he still does to this day.

“To their credit, they’ve bankrolled me for over a quarter of a century,” Britt said.

Britt’s work has brought him speaking engagements all over the world, and he always makes his first slide a photo of the railroad tracks in Suffolk.

“It allows me to get grounded,” he said.

Britt said he is honored to be named the First Citizen.

“It’s a long list of luminaries,” he said. “I’m surprised I’m on that list, but I’m happy to be there.” © Suffolk News Herald article

The 2018 First Citizen Recipient was Karla Jean Smith, of the Crittenden / Eclipse / Hobson community in Suffolk.

Once available, tickets to the event can be purchased by clicking here.

Karla Jean Smith Suffolk First Citizen 2018

Suffolk First Citizen past recipients include:

2018 - Karla Smith
2017 - John Harrell
2016 - Lydia Duke
2015 - Billy Chorey Sr.
2014 - Robert W. "Bobby" Harrell, Jr.
2013 - Dr. R. Leroy Howell, Sr.
2012 - M. Caroline Martin
2011 - The Honorable Fred Quayle            
2010 - Dr. Douglas C. Naismith
2009 - The Honorable Chris Jones
2008 - Betsy Brothers
2007 - W. Ross Boone
2006 - Whitney Godwin Saunders
2005 - The Honorable Curtis R. Milteer, Sr.
2004 - Susan F. Woodward
2003 - The Honorable E. Dana Dickens III
1998 - Durrell V. Mills
1997 - Jack W. Nurney, Jr.
1996 - George Y. Birdsong
1995 - Al and Georgia Saunders
1994 - J. Samuel Glasscock
1993 - Rev. Melvin R. Boone
1992 - Robert E. Gillette
1991 - Dr. Philip R. Thomas
1990 - Sanford B. Chapman
1989 - Oliver K. Hobbs
1988 - William J. Spain, Jr.
1987 - Dr. George H. Barnett
1986 - William E. Ashley
1985 - Joseph H. Barlow
1984 - Howard D. Mast
1983 - Dr. Margarite W. Reid
1982 - The Honorable Andrew B. Damiani
1981 - S. B. “Bert” Hazelwood
1980 - Arthur E. Jones
1979 - Edwin C. Ferguson, Jr.
1978 - Ted J. LoCascio
1977 - Robert H. Williams
1976 - Robert W. Hundley
1975 - Laura H. Elmore
1974 - William F. Davis
1973 - Dr. Robert B. Marr
1972 - James F. Hope
1971 - James E. Amers
1970 - Muscoe Garnett
1969 - Major T. Benton
1968 - C. M. Flintoff
1967 - Dr. Murray Kantor
1966 - W. G. Saunders, Jr
1965 - Hunter M. Haynes
1964 - Dr. Edward C. Joyner
1963 - Richard M. Williams
1962 - William R. Savage
1961 - Vernon G. Eberwine
1960 - W. P. Griffin
1959 - Mills E. Godwin, Jr.
1958 - Henry M. Pinner
1957 - T. H. Birdsong, Jr.
1956 - R. L. Woodward, Jr.