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Citizen of the Year? That's Kool!

New London Elks Name Kool 101 DJ Jim Reed “Citizen of the Year”

If broadcasting is a family tradition for Hall Communications Program Director Jim Reed, being named citizen of the year seems to run in the family too.

In 1979, Jim’s late father, Hall Communications Executive Vice President Dick Reed, was named Citizen of the Year by the Norwich Elks Lodge. In 2008, the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut honored Jim’s brother, Bob (WICH and WCTY Radio Chairman) as its Citizen of the Year.

This year, it was Jim’s turn.

At a ceremony on March 19, New London Elks Lodge #360 presented Reed with its annual Citizen of the Year award for service to the community that goes above and beyond what is expected. Given his family’s track record, Reed might have seen it coming. Even so, the WKLN Kool 101 DJ said he was really surprised. “I felt incredibly honored,” said Reed.

So how does someone become Citizen of the Year? The process begins with open nominations from Elk Lodge members, who then decide which nominee is the most meritorious, explained Elks Lodge 360 Exalted Ruler Michele Brighton. Reed was chosen for his consistent and enthusiastic promotion of good causes, charitable fundraisers, and local events.

“He doesn’t just announce the events, he promotes them, which makes a big difference,” said Brighton.

Reed often uses his morning radio show to promote local causes and does remote broadcasts from Ocean Beach to draw attention to fundraisers for cystic fibrosis, lymphoma, and the Red Cross, to name just a few. Reed isn’t one to take all the credit, however. “We can’t do it without listeners,” he said. “Some of the neat things we do are ideas phoned in by listeners.”

Reed wasn’t the only person to be honored at Saturday night’s event. Longtime New London Day editor David Carlson was named Elk of the Year and Leland Balch was honored as Officer of the Year. All three received proclamations lauding their achievements from fellow Elk and Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin Ryan (D-Bozrah, Franklin, Lebanon, and Montville) on behalf of the State Legislature and from Martin Olsen, New London’s final ceremonial Mayor, both of whom attended the ceremony.

Elk Lodge member Shawn Roach, who emceed the event, joked that President Barak Obama had also been invited but, “because of his tight schedule, he won’t be able to make it.” However, Roach assured everyone, additional proclamations from the president are in the mail.  

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