Observer Supporter Is a Citizen of the Year

By Halie Barger

John Skillings, a retired provost at Miami University who helped create the Oxford Observer, is one of five people named an Oxford Citizen of the Year earlier this month.

As a member of the Oxford Community Foundation, Skillings urged the creation of the Observer, citing the need for coverage of news in and around Oxford.

“Without John’s concerns about our community and the state of journalism, the Observer probably would not have happened,” said Richard Campbell, professor and former chair of Miami’s Department of Media, Journalism & Film.

The Citizen of the Year awards are given out jointly by the Oxford Kiwanis Club and the Oxford Press to honor those who have made contributions to the community during the calendar year.

“I was surprised and honored to be recognized for my work in advancing our community,” Skillings said. “It is particularly humbling knowing that there are many other people who are equally deserving of this award.”

Also receiving the award for community contributions was Braelynn Wagers, a senior at Talawanda High School, who completed 1,400 hours of community service with Talawanda’s chapter of the Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Wagers, 17, spearheaded projects such as a collection of items for families devastated by the wildfires in and around Gatlinburg last year.

The other recipients of the Citizens of the Year award were Kathy McMahon-Klosterman, recognized for her work on the social climate in Oxford; Sue Jones, for her contributions to local charitable foundations; and Mark Boardman, for his longtime involvement with the Three Valley Conservation Trust.