Rotary names Shorter Citizen of Year
CENTREVILLE — The Centreville Rotary Club presented its Citizen of the Year Award to Melvin J. Shorter Jr.
This preeminent award is presented annually by the Rotary to a deserving local resident. Nominations for candidates for the award are made both by Rotarians and by Queen Anne’s County citizens and is an opportunity to showcase the unselfish and dedicated work, often unheralded as well, of those in the community who exemplify the Rotary’s “service above self” motto. This includes a nominee’s personal and employment history, volunteer activities in the community and demonstrated leadership and community service toward enhancing the community.
For 2016, Shorter and the other finalists for the award — Bobbie Bell, Carol Williamson and Robert Willis — were recognized at a regular breakfast meeting of the Centreville Rotary where the selection committee’s decision was announced following brief background summaries of each candidate.
Shorter, an 80-year-old, life-long resident of Queen Anne’s County said he was “shocked, stunned and deeply honored” and humbled to receive this recognition from the Rotar y Club, something he said he could never imagine happening.
Shorter, a Pondtown resident, was nominated for his hard work, leadership and unselfish devotion to his family, community, church, lodge and various civic associations. Shorter is well known within the community and his involvement in Eastern Shore activities are numerous.
A graduate of Kennard High School in Centreville, he has been active in the Kennard Alumni Association since 1984 and its
efforts in restoring the Kennard School and reopening it as the Kennard Cultural and Heritage Center.
Shorter is a United States Army veteran, a member of the Queen Anne’s County NAACP, the Chesapeake College Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee for 15 years and the Kent and Queen Anne’s hospital auxiliary for 18 years. In addition, Shorter has been a board member at Provident Federal Credit Union in Dover for 25 years and its treasurer for 15 years.
Shorter is a leader in his church, having been a member of Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church since 1942, where he has served as a trustee, finance committee chairman, usher and choir member. His church has been supportive in the local community, interacting with three other churches within the county and neighboring counties. Without much recognition, Shorter and his church help the homeless and fire victims, provide scholarships and conduct hospital visits.
Shorter also is a trustee and finance committee chairman at Burrisville United Methodist Church and works parttime
at the Bennie Smith Funeral Home in Chestertown, helping loved ones with their grief and sorrow.
A retired mechanic from Kraft General Foods, where he worked for 33 years, Shorter was called a superstar because when things went wrong, the call went out for him and his team to address the problem. He is locally renowned for his catering and fish frying skills, which he shares with the community at four annual summer events. He also participates in Queen Anne’s County’s annual Harvest Breakfast at the 4-H Park.
Shorter is the Deputy Grand Master for the 7th District of the Prince Hall Masons in the five-county Upper Shore area, a post that he has held for seven years. For 34 years he has been a member and Past Master of the Thomas H. Kiah Lodge and 32nd degree mason in the James A. Mingo Consistory of the Prince Hall Masons.
“The Rotary tries and finds folks who are doing wonderful things but probably nobody knows about, who just go about their daily lives and do good things and try and make the community a better place for everybody,” said Centreville Rotary’s Chairman Rich Graves, a Citizen of the Year committee member.
The Centreville Rotary Club presented its Citizen of the Year award to Melvin Shorter Jr. for his work and service in the community.