Spring City names Courtney Syme Citizen of the Year
By Robert Stevens
SPRING CITY—A Spring City man was named Citizen of the Year during a Pioneer Day celebration for his tireless efforts to create a veterans memorial in the town.
Courtney Syme, president of the Spring City Veterans Memorial Committee, was named the first-ever Spring City Citizen of the Year by Spring City Councilman Joe McGriff during a special ceremony for the new award.
“It’s an honor for me as a councilman to be able to do this,” McGriff said to the crowd gathered to see the presentation. “It makes me feel like my title is nothing compared to this citizen of our town. After learning more about him, I can honestly say this is an honor.
Addressing Syme, he said, “These words are a celebration of your accomplishments, a recognition of your actions, and right now you are one of our heroes.”
To make the memorial happen, Syme approached the council and mayor with the proposal and undertook the whole effort, including fund raising, with help from his committee.
“Your actions are responsible for this beautiful memorial,” McGriff said. “You added a piece of hallowed ground to our beloved town. It was your idea, you got it approved, you helped raise the money, oversaw construction and had it all dedicated in one year.”
The memorial is designed to honor all Spring City residents who have served in the military. Syme’s own name is on it. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967 and turned 21 on a plane on its way to Vietnam.
“We will never forget your sacrifice and your continued sacrifice,” McGriff said of Syme’s sacrifice for his country. “I and so many of your neighbors respect your actions and the actions of your veteran brothers and sisters so much more than the current leaders of our country. You are an American hero and Spring City is proud to call you one of ours.”
Syme only spoke briefly in response to the recognition, saying, “I am surprised and grateful and honored. I could think of many Spring City citizens who are deserving of this award.”
He also expressed appreciation for the support he received during his quest to fund and build the memorial.
“Our citizen government of Spring City, when we approached them, they were extremely supportive,” Syme said. “Each and every one of them opened their wallets and donated generously to our efforts to get our memorial. As changes have happened with the government, they have still stayed highly supportive.”
Spring City Pioneer Day Committee member Cynthia DeGray says the committee intends to keep the award going, but will possibly make some adjustments in how the recipient is chosen. This year the award was chosen by the city council and mayor, who chose from a list of publicly nominated candidates.
“One of the people on our committee thought the recognition would be a good thing to institute,” DeGray said. “Our plan is to continue it every year.”