ABSECON – A man who spent the past four decades by seemingly giving all he had to those with nothing to offer in return has been named this year’s recipient of the Absecon Republican Club’s Citizen of the Year.
Former Atlantic City Rescue Mission CEO Bill Southrey will be honored as the 2015 Citizen of the Year during a dinner and celebration in his honor 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26 at the Inn of Smithville.
The reward has been given annually to an Absecon resident, regardless of party affiliation, who has given tirelessly to others without the thought of personal gain. Previous Citizen of the Year award winners choose each future winner.
Southrey has spent most of his lifetime providing for others, especially the homeless of Atlantic County. Even back in the 1970s, Southrey and his wife, Debra, provided food and shelter to homeless people in their one-bedroom apartment in Pleasantville, according to club members.
Southrey began volunteering at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission after he witnessed more than 100 people camped out for or the safety and warmth of the old abandoned Atlantic City Railroad Station on a cold and rainy night. He became an Atlantic City Rescue Mission paid staff member in 1981 and served as CEO from 2000-2013.
After Southrey left the Rescue Mission, he became president of Haven, an Atlantic City organization that helps find safe, secure and affordable housing for the homeless.
Southrey and his wife live in Absecon and have three grown children, Sarai, Andrew and Caitlin.