Editorial: Never too early to nominate your Person of the Year

Two years ago, we moved our annual People of the Year ceremony from the cramped lobby of our Mattituck offices to Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead.

We also changed the format, replacing long speeches by our editors with pre-recorded video stories about each of the evening’s honorees.

In those two years, the positive response from the hundreds of people in attendance has been overwhelming. Many of our readers have also praised the video presentations after they’ve been published on our websites.

As one recipient noted in 2015, “I feel like I’m at the Oscars of the North Fork.”

[Video, photos: Riverhead News-Review fetes its 2015 People of the Year]

If you’re at the point in this editorial where you’re wondering why we’re writing about “people of the year” in the first week of August, please allow us to explain.

The new format has helped generate more nominations than ever before. It’s also a lot of work preparing the videos, which can sometimes be affected by weather when filmed in the winter months.

In an effort to better prepare for the ceremony, we’ve decided to request nominations earlier and are moving up the deadline for submitting those nominations to Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Doing things this way will enable our editorial team to begin preparing materials we might need for possible people of the year honorees sooner. It will also allow us to finalize the winners about a month earlier than usual.

We will still name an educator, businessperson, community leader, public servant, sports and overall person of the year in the first issue in January. For the third year, our northforker of the year award will also honor someone working in the food, wine, hospitality or agricultural industries.

With their heartfelt nominations, our readers have always played perhaps the most important role in the selection process. Last year, they helped us choose a wide array of worthy recipients, including a high school wrestler who sacrificed his senior season to donate bone marrow to his sister, a teacher who made it possible for a boy to attend school for the first time and a group of firefighters who saved a man’s life.

We realize there are a great many people doing big things in their community who don’t seek the spotlight. As a result, the work they do is hardly noticed. That’s who we’re talking about. Do you know such a person? Let us know.

Nominations can be mailed to executive editor Grant Parpan at P.O. Box 1500, Mattituck, NY 11952. Or you can email him at [email protected].

Tell us why the person or group you are nominating is deserving — and please be sure to give us your phone number so we can follow up.