Editorial: Citizen of the Year

In the interests of full disclosure and transparency, it should be said that there was discussion and debate here at the newspaper some months ago about whether we should even have a “Citizen of the Year” award this year — even though it was a tradition going back more than 30 years to 1978.

While most readers seemed to value the special recognition afforded to commendably active citizens of the community, others sometimes saw this activism as, by definition, polarizing. Or, at the very least, they worried that by singling out one person, other persons — perhaps equally deserving — were unjustly ignored.

But once we at the newspaper learned of Richard Lykes’s unusual and amazing bequest to the county — and if you haven’t already, see the story on page 1 — the discussion and debate were over. It was imperative that the paper recognize him, in at least the one small way we have available to us.

Like a lot of newcomers to Rappahannock County, Richard Lykes had the wherewithal and worldly knowledge to live anywhere in this country or any other and yet . . . . And yet he chose Rappahannock County.

That choice made him appreciative in ways that many of us, who may take familiar things for granted, are not. And that appreciation speaks now beyond the grave.

You can see it in the timeless photographs that he took — his deep love and singular appreciation for Rappahannock County. These photographic images are bequests, too, that will live on and on.

Walter Nicklin