Vickie Benjamin named Williston's Citizen of Year

  • Vickie Benjamin celebrates with her husband, Michael, after she was named Williston “Citizen of the Year” during the town’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies.

Vickie Benjamin loves Williston and the community has returned that love by naming her “Citizen of the Year”.

Benjamin was “surprised and humbled” when her name was called out by Mayor Jason Stapleton on Saturday evening at Williston’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting event held on Main Street.

“Wow,” she said after being led to the speaker’s stand by 2017 Citizen of the Year Bob Cothran. “I love so many of you, especially the little ones. I really appreciate the honor.”

A native of Williston, Benjamin is the daughter of Victor and Bobbie Rodgers. She and her husband Michael have been married over 40 years and have one daughter, Stephanie Koontz.

Benjamin attended Williston public schools but did not attend college, instead going straight to work at Allied General Nuclear Services as a design drafter. She later worked for Areva Nuclear Materials in the same capacity, retiring in 2016 after 31 years of service.

Her passion, though, has been the youth in the Williston community. She has operated the game clock for Williston-Elko basketball team since 1985, and kept the statistics for baseball and football teams since 1982.

Benjamin also serves on the board of directors of DIG (Dreams, Imagination and Gift) and is a volunteer with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) after-school program.

A framed proclamation noted Benjamin “displays an enduring commitment to the children of our community.”

“Benjamin faithfully serves the Williston School District with a tireless drive to volunteer her talents with those she loves so dearly. She is a Blue Devil through and through, and that is evident in her decades of service to the athletic program.”

It also stated that Benjamin, “without asking for attention or recognition, but simply by reaching out to her fellow citizens, represents the heart and humanity of our Williston community through her devotion, selflessness and humility. Her good deeds have impacted many in the Town of Williston and beyond.”

“Everything I do is for the kids,” she said. “They have been the joy of my life and I have some kids as old as 50”.

Many of those “kids” enveloped her with hugs following the announcement.

As part of the event Benjamin ceremoniously lit the town’s Christmas tree to the delight and cheers of the crowd assembled in front of Meeting on Main.

The event also included songs by Kelly Edwards Elementary School students, the telling of the Christmas story by Presbyterian minister Dr. Beth Yarborough, a saxophone solo by Bo Gardner and free hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

The evening’s event was culminated with the arrival of Santa Claus in a Williston Fire Truck. Santa took a seat on the light-bedecked porch of Meeting on Main and listened to the Christmas wishes of children who lined up and down the front steps and into the blocked-off street.