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Olliff named Rotary Citizen of the Year
Charles Olliff Jr. was named Rotary Citizen of the Year Monday at a joint meeting of the Statesboro Rotary Club and the Downtown Rotary Club of Statesboro.
    "I was completely surprised," Olliff said of receiving the honor. "I've been named, but I'm not worthy of it."
    Olliff was a fighter pilot in World War II before eventually becoming an instructor for other fighter pilots.
    He's also been very active in the community, serving as the co-chairman of the successful capital building campaign for Ogeechee Area Hospice as well as a board member for the organization. He's also lent his leadership and financial support to local groups focused on rehabilitating those who suffer from substance abuse.
    "The award says it's for outstanding community service, and I don't know where I've been outstanding in any community service," Olliff said. "I've just tried to live a good life."
    However, it wasn't those qualities that lead the selection committee to choose him, said Charles Brown.
    "It is his genteel nature, his ready smile, his jaunty teasing that punctures all our pretensions, his obvious affection for his fellow humans and his love of every life moment that endears him to all of us who are privileged to know him," said Brown.
    Brown quoted Kenny Stone, chairman of the selection committee, as calling him "the last of the of the breed of all it means to be a Southern gentleman.
     Olliff has been a member of Rotary for 56 years, including serving as a director for the club. He's also been an active member of Statesboro First United Methodist Church where he's been on the Administrative Board, served on the finance committee and been active in the "Meals on Wheels" and Homebound Communion Ministry.
    Brown joked that had Olliff known he was winning the award, he may not have shown up.
    "He is so modest and self-effacing, the committee was sure he would have declined it," Brown said.
    Even after receiving the honor, Olliff wasn't sure what he'd done to earn it.
    "It makes me feel very humble to receive this recognition," Olliff said.
    <I>Luke Martin can be reached at  (912) 489-9454.
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