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February 15-- Two longtime Vidalia leaders are the city's Lady and Man of the Year for 2017.

The annual recognition banquet Thursday night honored civic leaders John Ladson and Carol Hansley for their contributions to the city's welfare and progress over the years.

citizencarol"It's very humbling and so unexpected just to be in the company of all the women and all the gentlemen who have been citizen of the year," Hansley said, and noted service is the cornerstone of an organization she helps lead in Vidalia,"I try to live up to the motto of our Concerned Citizens Coalition which says we only expect to pass this way but once.  Therefore, any good we can do, any kindness we can show to any fellow creature, this is the time to do it, right now.  We never know if we'll have an opportunity to pass this way again.  So, I am the one who is blessed when I get to serve.  Vidalia is the best city in the world in which to serve.  There is plenty of opportunity and I'm thankful the citizens trust me and believe in me enough to allow me to participate and to serve.  I look forward to making the city the best it can be."

citizenjohnJohn Ladson has lived in Vidalia most of his life and has worked to foster it's growth and economic development, "I would never have seen this coming in a million years," he observed and said it has most to with his upbringing, "The legacy of my mother in particular.  She loved Vidalia.  This was her home and she worked hard to make it a better place.  Unfortunately, her life ended prematurely before she finished what I think would have been a really great contribution to the community.  I look back on that tonight and think that maybe in a little way I've kind of fallen into what she wanted me to do.  That's the most meaningful part to me."

2016 Man of Year Harry Moses, Jr. (L) presents the award to John Ladson.

The annual recognition program started in Vidalia in 1948 and is currently hosted by three civic clubs including  Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary.