Mother, daughter named Citizens of the Year

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
For the first time in fourteen years, two people were given the Citizen of the Year Award at the annual Chamber of Commerce Meeting Thursday night.
Mother and daughter duo, Jane and Ellen Corman were the recipient of Atmore's 2005 Citizen of the Year award.
The Chamber first started the award presentation in 1978. A committee compiled of the Chamber President, Immediate past President, one past Citizen of the Year, and two selected individuals meet each year to look over submitted applications. Qualified applicants must be individuals who have made contributions to the community and the people over the past year.
"When the committee started looking at Ellen's contributions, especially the Adopt-a-Tree program, the committee began to look at her upbringing," Emilie Mims, Chamber of Commerce Director said. "They then realized what a great impact her mother, Jane had made on her and the many contributions she had made for the community as well."
Jane Corman has worked many years to make a difference in Atmore. Her passion for local youth has been made evident in the many hours she has worked to challenge and motivate students.
Corman served as president of the Atmore YMCA, president of the Atmore Junior Service League and has currently been named as the chairman of the Atmore Public Library Board. She also serves as secretary-treasurer of the Corman Foundation.
She is also a member of First Presbyterian Church where she is actively involved with the youth in Sunday school and other church programs. She serves on the Atmore Area Young Life Committee as well.
Corman's daughter, Ellen is a senior at Escambia Academy and has not allowed her age to stand in the way of making a difference in Atmore.
Ellen serves as president of the Escambia Academy Student Government Association and has led contributions to the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry, the Red Cross, the United Fund and the American Cancer Society.
She is a Chamber Ambassador and is also an Atmore Rotary Club Academic All-Star.
On her own, she volunteered with the Baptist Disaster Relief after Ivan, the Red Cross after Katrina, works with Sav-a-Life, the Angel Tree program, the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry, Operation Christmas Child through the Samaritan's Purse and has collected and sent relief supplies to the victims of the Asian tsunami.
Ellen's most prominent achievement came when she worked with the Chamber to develop the Atmore Adopt-A-Tree program in an effort to replant what was lost in her town from Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis.
Atmore received a grant for $75,000.00 to purchase and plant 500 trees as a result of Corman's concern and dedication coupled with help from the Chamber.
When announcing the winners Thursday night, presenter Mary Grissett said, "It's true. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And we have all heard the adage: Like father like son. But more appropriately tonight: Like mother like daughter. This mother and daughter duo has set a standard of making a difference in our community which we can all respect, admire, and tonight, honor."
According to Jane Corman, her husband was told about the award and was asked to make certain they were both present. Ellen had an away basketball game and the Chamber was fearful she might not make it. Jim Corman told his wife, Jane that their daughter had won the Citizen of the Year and they had to get her to the banquet. He failed to mention that she was also being recognized.
"I was sitting there with my camera getting ready to get pictures of Ellen," Jane Corman said. "And then when she said something about the Library board, I started recognizing it as myself. I was really disappointed because I wanted it to be Ellen. As a parent you always want more for your children. I was so happy when they continued and realized that it was both. I was in shock and very humbled. There are so many people who do so much in Atmore that I did not feel deserving of such an honor. I moved here in 1977 and felt like Atmore reached out and loved me. I have done everything for the community out of my love for it and the people. It is not a chore."
Ellen was also in shock over the announcement. According to her mother, Ellen never dreamed that anyone her age could be recognized in such a significant way. She wanted to give credit to Emilie Mims for mentoring her and helping her succeed in the Adopt-a-Tree program.

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