This article has been updated.
Major Dundalk volunteer and three-times Eagle staff member Paul Rosenberger has been chosen as the Citizen of the Year for 2019 by the Dundalk Optimist Club.
Although the award is for 2019, Rosenberger actually received the call to accept this Monday, the awards having been delayed due to COVID-19.
Optimists Treasurer Will Feuer said the club had began working on the 2019 awards on a slightly delayed schedule just prior to the pandemic, and when March of 2020 came around, the awards had to be put off.
Rosenberger was chosen because he is “very active in the community,” Feuer said, more recently, running the Dundalk Heritage 6K before the Fourth of July Parade every year, and the Dundalk Challenge 5K for CCBC.
The races, Rosenberger said, aren’t just fundraisers, but give off a sense of community for the close-knit area.
“The people you meet, the sponsors that help, the people come together, and it’s very cool to see that,” Rosenberger said. “I mean, it’s just a race. But it’s really neat at the end of the day when they all congregate.”
Rosenberger recalled a moment when he had just finished one of the races and a stranger approached him, telling him it was “excellent again.” That, Rosenberger said, was a big moment in realizing the impact of the races. He estimates both of them have raised around $70,000 over the years.
He says he wasn’t “instrumental” in many of the organizations he’s volunteered in, such as the Dundalk Historical Society, the Chamber of Commerce, Dundalk Renaissance and Santa Claus Anonymous. But usually, his approach has been that “you see things, they need some help, and you move on.”
But Rosenberger said he has enjoyed every experience he’s had in Dundalk since he came here in 1976.
“I take personal pride in that stuff, just like I have pride in this community,” he said.
Rosenberger, now a consultant, has been employed with the Eagle three times, and said his time with the paper was also big for him.
“I’ve always been proud to represent the Dundalk Eagle,” he said. “We helped out a lot of people.”
The Optimists will honor the 2019 and 2020 Citizens and Humanitarians of the Year at a joint ceremony on Nov. 16 at Fiesta’s Catering Hall. 2020 nominations for both are still open and available online or at the North Point Library, Drug City, and the Dundalk Historical Society, and can be submitted until Oct. 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Dundalk Optimist Club, P.O. Box 4044, Dundalk MD 21222.