April 30, 2012 – The Suffolk Rotary and North Suffolk Rotary Clubs partnered to host the 2012 Suffolk First Citizen Reception on April 19at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.  Approximately 300 guests gathered to honor the 2012 First Citizen, Mrs. M. Caroline Martin. The Suffolk Rotary First Citizen award is given to an individual who best embodies the spirit of citizenship and who has shown significant leadership through their time, talent and effort to enhance the quality of life in our community of Suffolk.  The First Citizen exemplifies the Rotary model of “Service Above Self.”

Caroline Martin and her husband, Brian, moved to Suffolk from Maine in 1966 and have been heavily involved in the community ever since.

Caroline currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community and the Western Tidewater Free Clinic. She also serves on the board of the Virginia Association of Free Clinics. During the infancy of the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, Caroline stepped down from the board for a year to serve as the clinic’s Interim Executive Director.

In her other prominent community roles, Caroline serves on the board at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, where she is the Assistant Treasurer and Co-Chair of the Governance Committee. She is Vice President of Suffolk Sister Cities and is a founding member of Edmarc Hospice for Children. She held several volunteer leadership positions with with Physicians for Peace and is a member of the Rotary Club of North Suffolk.

Prior to her community-wide involvement, Caroline served as Executive Vice President of Riverside Health Systems for nearly 20 years. She also was an instructor at the Louise Obici School of Nursing. Caroline and Brian have most recently owned Gates Custom Milling Company in North Carolina since 1979.

“We love Suffolk and have enjoyed being a part of its growth and feel a real responsibility as a corporate citizen to it,” Martin said.  “Whenever any one person gets recognized, it’s really because they’ve surrounded themselves with people who are much more accomplished than they are themselves.”

Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional and community leaders.  Rotary’s main objective is service – in the community, in the workplace and throughout the world.

The 2012 First Citizen Reception was led by Rotarians Jackie Cherry, Kenda Council, Phil Ford, Ashley Greene, Wendy Hosick, Tim Palmer, Crystal Rivenbark and Res Spears.  This year’s event net revenue is estimated at $22,000, which will be used to support organizations in the Suffolk community.

Suffolk Rotary Club President Kenda Council, stated, “The Rotary Clubs of Suffolk are proud to partner in honoring the Suffolk First Citizen each year.”



Kenda Council, President
(757) 539-8789 x 3339 office

Suffolk Rotary Club
P.O. Box 1972
Suffolk, Virginia 23439