CRA's Citizen of the Year, a Biannual Celebration

Our next Citizen of the Year (COTY) Event is
Sunday March 26th 2023 from 2-4 PM,
once again at the Carmel Woman's Club. 

And now, with a drum roll please....our awardee is Donna Jett with 25 years of service in Carmel-by-the-Sea and beyond.   Fred Bologna, President of CRA says “Donna is an extraordinary example of a sustained committed volunteer for our Village. With over 25 years on nonprofit boards and event leadership, her contributions are almost too many to mention. Her passion for the arts and those less fortunate have been applied to her efforts to organizations including Joining Hands, Pacific Repertory Theater, and Carmel Woman’s Club. She also directly applies her skills and energy to our City through her service on the Community Activities Commission for almost 20 years. Donna truly makes an impression and a difference. We are pleased to add her to our honor roll of Citizens of the Year.” 

Read on for our recent Past 2021 Honoree and Program, the COTY background and nomination process.  

Our 2021 celebration was from 2-4PM, Sunday October 10th, 2021
at the Carmel Woman's Club - Free & Open to the Public -
It was great to have you join us in Celebrating our Honoree - Dale Byrne!


Dale will officially join our amazing roster of 32 past recipients recognized for "enhancing the lives of citizens of Carmel-by-the-Sea." This award recognizes citizens for their activities and contributions to our parks and volunteer work in organizations serving our community. This, no doubt, reflects Dale's contribution to our Village for many years, culminating with the formation of Carmel Cares supported by passionate donors and volunteers.
Our October 10th Program Included
1:30   Doors open, with beverages served
2:00   Program begins. Special recognition of past recipients.  Presentation of 2021 Citizen of the Year.  Presentation of awards by dignitaries.
3:00   Celebrate with our recipients while enjoying hearty hors d'oeuvres, cake, and beverages.
This event was open to the public with capacity limited to 125.  Masks are required for unvaccinated.  Read on for Highlights of Dale's Contributions, and History, Criteria & Past Recipients on this Recognition Program.

Dale Byrne Contribution Highlights

After many years of vacationing here, Dale and his wife Margaret began their full time Carmel-by-the-Sea journey seven years ago.  Dale's early Village volunteering began at the Carmel Visitors Center, then continued in his partnership with Voice Map Tours - emphasizing the protection of our Village heritage. He also joined CRA, after becoming a board member, he leveraged his past tech expertise to rolling out our new membership management, web site and communications tools. Especially triggered by the early days of the Pandemic, Dale shifted to partnering and leading charitable projects and contributions with Carmel Gives, in parallel he began the formalization of Carmel Cares.

Carmel Cares is a 501(c)3 nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to keeping Carmel-by-the-Sea beautiful, safe, and inviting place through volunteer maintenance and improvement projects, branded community engagement programs, educational outreach, and other creative activities. We partner closely with the City of Carmel’s Public Works Department and other nonprofit organizations to make a difference in our community.

You can visit to volunteer, donate and learn about the plethora of programs and projects completed, upcoming and ongoing efforts by Dale and his volunteer crews. Under Carmel Cares, Dale has donated capital items to our Village Public Works teams, especially beneficial in the scarce budget COVID times, and over 2000 hours (and counting) of volunteer time in many improvement projects throughout town e.g. Scenic Pathway, Forest Theater and Devendorf Park - a partial list.  Notably Carmel Cares is also on the path to becoming an official affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, with Keep Carmel Beautiful.   

On October 10th, you will learn more about Dale and his boundless energy - directed to assure Carmel-by-the-Sea remains an amazing place to visit, live, work and play for years to come. 

In alignment with our public October 1st  Announce date of our honoree, initial press coverage includes:

Award History, Criteria & Past Award Winners

Beginning in 1980's, and now on every second year, CRA honors a prominent Carmel person by naming him or her Citizen of the Year. Candidates have, through their service, enhanced the lives of citizens of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  All nominees, either resident or business community members, must live in Carmel-by-the-Sea or its Sphere of Influence.

Our 26th 2021 Citizen of the Year awards ceremony, in normal times, is held in the Spring at the Carmel Woman’s Club and this gathering is open to the public. Traditionally this mid-afternoon ceremony includes local & regional leaders – providing additional recognition and appreciation for our awardee, along with finger food and beverages. 

The Candidate

  • Nominations are sought for people who during the past year or years, had done an outstanding job of promoting the objectives of Ordinance 96 that states, in part, that "Carmel-by-the-Sea is primarily, essentially and predominantly a residential city."
  • Must live in Carmel-by-the-Sea or in our Sphere of Influence.
  • Has enhanced the lives of citizens of Carmel-by-the-Sea. For example: prior honorees were recognized for their activities and contributions to our parks and volunteer work in organizations serving our community.
  • Can be a resident or business community member
  • May or may not be CRA member
  • Must not be on the CRA Board
  • Must not be our city or county employee
  • Must not be an elected official of Carmel-by-the-Sea or Monterey County

The Nominations

  • Can be made by any Carmel person or organization
  • To include all relevant details on the contributions to Carmel-by-the-Sea community
  • To include email and phone # contact information of the nominator(s)
  • Must be sent to: CRA Citizen of the Year, PO Box 13, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Ca 93921 – or email to [email protected]
  • Must be received on or before February 10th 2023

History of Citizen of the Year Award

In the fall of 1988, at a meeting of Village leaders, it was decided that Carmel should recognize citizens who give outstanding service to their community.  With widespread support, Carmel Residents Association was chosen to develop and sponsor this recognition event. 

Roster of Prior Honorees: (through 2021)

This coming year’s Honoree will join a long list of distinguished citizens recognized for their efforts on behalf of our city. They include:
Linda Anderson, Clayton Anderson*, Noel Van Bibber*, Melanie Billig, Jack Billwiller*, Steve Brooks, Mike Brown, Greg D’Ambrosio, Olof Dahlstrand*, Nancy & Bill Doolittle, Dale Byrne, Richard Flower*, John Hicks*, J.S. "Jim" Holliday*, Wayne Kelley*, Bob Kohn*, 
Frankie Laney, Barbara Livingston*, Skip Lloyd*, Noel Mapstead, Roberta & Monte* Miller, Enid Sales*, Joyce Stevens, Merv Sutton, Roy Thomas, Charlotte Townsend*, Fran & Alex* Vardamis, Jean White*, Ken White, and Jim Wright*.
                                   Spouses listed separately were awarded in a separate year.
* have passed away

A sampling of prior honorees here

Purple text above reflects the 2021 specific content....and will be updated annually.

Previous issues of  The Voice included coverage of Citizen of the Year....if you'd like to go to the Archives and read more on this program history and it's winners. Check out issues : March 2010, April 2010, January 2011, March 2011, January 2013, November 2014, January 2015, February 2017, January 2019, January 2021, and November 2021.