To the Editor:
It is with great pleasure that the Centreville Day Planning Committee announces that the recipient of the Centreville Day Citizen of the Year Award is Bonnie Hobbs in recognition of her service to the Centreville community in her role as a reporter for the Centre View newspaper. This year Centreville Day celebrates its 20th annual festival and 220 years of Centreville community. Coincidentally, Ms. Hobbs is also celebrating her 20th anniversary with the Centre View.
Bonnie Hobbs began her career in journalism in the San Francisco Bay area, where she grew up. She has worked for papers in North Carolina and elsewhere in Virginia. But it is in Centreville that both Bonnie and her stories have become an integral part of the community.
Though Bonnie says that crime is her favorite subject to cover, her reporting has covered every aspect of life in Centreville from school events such as art shows, retirements and international nights, to business openings or the closing of local icons such as Hunter Hardware and Payne’s Restaurant. She has covered the joys we share as a community during Centreville Day or high school homecomings, but she has covered the community’s tragedies as well.
This may seem to be merely a reflection of the news, but journalism has the power to both report the news and to shape a community’s identity and spirit, as anyone weary of the parade of murder and mayhem stories that crowd local television reporting knows. Bonnie has consistently chosen to report on the community as a multifaceted whole and with sensitivity to the effect her stories might have on the lives she covers.
In all of her stories, but especially in those that describe suffering and loss, Bonnie uncovers the deeper human experience without sensationalism. As Meg Crossett, who met Bonnie 20 year ago when she first started reporting on Centreville, observes, “she has covered the tragedies in such a way that we all feel the grief of the family who has lost a loved one, she honors their memory as she tells their story.” Some stories have also served to help overcome loss by featuring events such as the candlelight vigils for officers Vicky Armel and Michael Garbarino, or fundraising events such as the Angel Kisses race, St. Baldrick’s Day, or Centreville Day’s newly established Zombie Slouch Fun Run.
Bonnie works tirelessly, often sacrificing her own free time to attend community events, and she is regularly up past midnight writing stories and preparing the paper for publication. She has achieved all this without sacrificing journalistic excellence, having been repeatedly recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the American Society of Professional Journalists. We are privileged to recognize her contributions at the Centreville Day opening ceremonies at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 20 at the stage at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5640 Mt. Gilead Road. Note access to the area is restricted due to road closures. See www.CentrevilleVA.org for information about free parking and shuttle service.
Centreville Day Planning Committee