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First Citizen -- Citizens Bank branch manager Susan Morrill was named First Citizen Friday at the Dallas Community Awards.
February 27, 2013
DALLAS -- Susan Morrill, Dallas' 2013 First Citizen, has been called "a role model for the rest of us" when it comes to serving the community.
The words were spoken by Roger Pope, owner of Visual Media Center in Dallas, who presented the award to Morrill at the 2013 Dallas Community Award ceremony Friday night.
Pope's description of Morrill wasn't an exaggeration.
Morrill, the manager of Citizens Bank in Dallas, takes the "citizen" part in the title of the business seriously. She's currently serving as the vice chairwoman of the SABLE House board of directors, treasurer of the Dallas Community Foundation, co-treasurer of Dallas Rotary, and is a member of the Dallas Area Visitors Center board of directors.
Morrill looks at those additional duties as an extension of her position with the bank.
"We call ourselves a community bank and you have to be involved in the community to live up to that," she said.
While Morrill prefers to deflect praise, Pope heaped it on before the crowd of about 150 who attended the annual awards ceremony, held at the new Col. James Nesmith Readiness Center in Dallas.
He stressed the importance of the title of "First Citizen."
"It's the pinnacle of any possible honor that you can receive," Pope said. "It's Dallas' equivalent of man or woman of the year."
Pope said it recognizes the recipient's achievements, while also acknowledging what the honoree still could accomplish in the future.
"Yet no one has received this award unless they have made an enormous impact on the city of Dallas and the surrounding area," he said.
For Morrill, that impact has been nearly 20 years in the making.
Morrill first worked in Dallas as the manager of the former First Security Bank, now Wells Fargo. After the First Security-Wells Fargo merger, Morrill moved to Citizens Bank and managed its loan services center in Corvallis for two years. But Citizens Bank had a plan to open a branch in Dallas and executives knew just who should lead it.
"Knowing my background, I was kind of their natural selection," she said.
In October 2002 Citizens Bank opened a "trailer bank" where the Dutch Bros. Coffee location is now while waiting for the permanent building to be finished.
The current location opened in July 2003. Citizens Bank immediately became an important part of the business community, being named the Small Business of the Year in 2007. That's at about the same time Pope said he began noticing Morrill's ever-increasing community service.
"I can't begin to tell you what the heck drives (her) to take this philosophy to a level that few can strive for and even fewer can match," he said. "... First of all, you have to start wondering if she's cloned herself or maybe she has a twin in Dallas.
"If we caught her in midstride, just imagine what the next five years is going to hold," he added.
Accepting the award Friday night, Morrill extended Pope's praise to the others recognized during the ceremony, saying they've served as mentors and role models to her.
"I feel so validated as a community member," she said following the ceremony. "And I'm touched and I'm honored."
And the winners are ...
Award recipients during the 56th annual Dallas Community Awards, presented Friday.
Junior First Citizen
Gene and Lynette Henshaw
Excellence in Arts
James2 Community Kitchen
Business of the Year
Les Schwab Tire Center
Squirrels Taxi Service
Most Improved Business
Dallas Bike & Board (Electric Peddler)