Citizen of the Year!

Posted on: Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Monica Hoel
Anna Buchanan Martin ('86) has distinguished herself as a community servant.
Anna Buchanan Martin ('86) uses this quote on her email signature: “Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.”  -H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

Practicing what she preaches, Anna stays completely busy -- mostly worrying about the needs of others. Recently her good work was recognized as the Christiansburg-Blacksburg Rotary Club named her their 2017 Citizen of the Year. 

For 19 years, Anna has volunteered for the Montgomery County Christmas Store, working year-round, and certainly not just during the holidays!  She keep the shelves stocked and ready for Christmas. Additionally, for 15 years she has volunteered for the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley.  This organization that assists women in a time of need is a project she is particularly passionate about. And she has a host of other organizations she also serves.

"Anyone can volunteer, it’s about finding or creating your niche.  I have had the opportunity to create my own niche with several local charities." She says she has closely evaluated her own strengths and weaknesses and uses those skills to serve the causes she strongly believes in. She jokes that she would not be good at handling women's shelter phone calls because she would feel a need to seek justice! But she finds areas that need help and service and support and throws all her energy into those things she's good at.  "I have looked at my professional experience and skills, my social skills, and made my own volunteer opportunities where I saw a need that I could address that would benefit the charity.  It works for me and it helps the charities."

See below for the full press release printed in the Roanoke Times to see a full list of the many causes Anna supports, and you'll quickly see why she was honored.

The Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg presented its 2017 Citizen of the Year award to Anna Buchanan Martin at their meeting on April 10.

“This award allows our community and Rotary to recognize a volunteer with outstanding leadership and citizenship who demonstrates exemplary vision, civic pride and true commitment to the betterment of Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Montgomery County,” said Dr. Doug McAlister, chairperson of the club’s award committee.

Martin has volunteered for the Montgomery County Christmas Store for the past 19 years. During that time, she has focused on year-round acquisition of donations; been a buyer for the Girls Department and for plus-size clothing in the Senior Department; donated low-sodium and low-sugar food; donated and advocated for new sock and underwear donations; volunteered for the Girls Department; been an active fundraiser; and manned the Belk Charity Sale at the New River Valley Mall.

Martin’s volunteer efforts at the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley over the past 15 years have included year-round acquisition and delivery of donations and donation drives for school supplies, pillows and bedding, toiletries, cleaning supplies and paper goods, as well as fundraising consulting and advocacy.

While Martin focuses much of her effort on the Montgomery County Christmas Store and the Women’s Resource Center, she has helped many other nonprofit organizations in the New River Valley as a donating artist and a volunteer fundraising consultant, including the VT Hahn Horticulture Garden, NRV Cares, United Way of Montgomery County, American Cancer Foundation, Community Foundation of the New River Valley, High Street Baptist Church, YMCA at VT, New River Valley Family Shelter, the Montgomery Museum and Lewis Miller Regional Art Center, the Christiansburg Institute and Katie’s Krops.

Martin calls volunteerism her hobby and credits her husband, George, with much patience for the many odd donations she stores before they get to their final charitable location. Martin’s co-workers in University Development at Virginia Tech have helped cultivate her hobby by naming her as their charity project coordinator. In addition to coordinating donation drives for the Women’s Resource Center and Virginia Tech Career Outfitters and holiday toy drives for the Christmas Store, the Women’s Resource Center and the Salvation Army angel tree, Martin serves as a charitable donation clearinghouse for her co-workers – referring them to charities that have common goals with the donor and even making deliveries for them.

The Citizen of the Year Award is just one of many manifestations of the Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg’s motto, “Service Above Self.” For more information about Rotary, visit

— Submitted by Terri Fisher

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