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By Lynda Tate
The Caroline Chamber of Commerce presents an annual award for “Community Involvement and Volunteerism In Caroline” – better known as the C.I.V.I.C. Award – to an individual who, among other criteria, exemplifies support for non-profit and/or charitable events and is known for above-average participation in the promotion of activities that benefit the community at large.
This year’s C.I.V.I.C. Award was presented to Francine W. Whittaker of Ladysmith.
Nominated on behalf of the Caroline County Agricultural Fair Association, Whittaker, a lifetime resident of Caroline, was chosen for her dedication and service to various non-profit organizations. She joined a variety of community organizations over the years, often serving as an officer. She has served with the Caroline Jr. Women’s Club, Camp Easter Seal Committee, Relay for Life of Caroline County, and is a charter member of the Friends of Ladysmith Branch of Caroline County Library. She also served on the Caroline Social Services and Library Boards.
Whittaker is a volunteer at various fundraising functions with the Ladysmith Volunteer Rescue Squad and in 2016 the LVRS made her an Honorary Member. She currently volunteers with Micah Ministries, helping to prepare and serve meals for the less fortunate in the Fredericksburg area. She recently concluded decades of service to a local Boy Scout troop where she helped young scouts to achieve their Family Life Merit Badge.
She is a member of the Caroline County Museum and Cultural Center and served on the Jamestown Committee where she helped establish an exhibit of the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown Celebration for Caroline County which was on display at the Caroline County Agricultural Fair in 2007.
Whittaker joined the Caroline County Agricultural Fair Association in 2008 as the Heritage Committee Chairman. She became association president in January 2009 – just before the Fair received a land donation which allowed for the establishment of its permanent location. Fran’s planning, organizational and leadership skills – along with her many personal contacts and her knack for letter writing and public speaking – continue to be a tremendous asset toward the overall growth of the organization. She works year-round promoting the Fair and continues to present, new publicity ideas and activities for the annual event.
Whittaker is no stranger to hard work and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She is dedicated to the community of Caroline and to helping people in general. She is a sister, a mother, a doting grandmother, and a good friend to many.
And she would give anyone “the shirt off of her back” if they needed it.