The Rant’s very own Gordon Anderson was named Citizen of the Year by the Sanford Elks Lodge #1679 in March. Anderson was to learn of the honor at the lodge’s March event, but since we’re not having “events” at this time, he had to find out from a socially safe distance.

Past recipients of the Elks Lodge Citizen of the Year have included Sanford mayors, city council members, police chiefs and outstanding business owners who go above and beyond the call of service to their community, according to Nathan Cochrane, exalted ruler for Lodge #1679.

“Our Elks Citizen of the Year award is the most revered award we can give at the local level,” Cochrane said. “Gordon Anderson has been a staple at our Elks Lodge and within the community, and many people don’t know who he is and what he does. Gordon is not a man who seeks recognition or accolades, which is one of the many traits that makes him a perfect candidate for this award.”

Cochrane said before he began his year head of the lodge in 2019, he worked on the group’s board of directors and asked Anderson to serve with him for the year, but Anderson declined.

“I asked him why he wouldn’t serve on the board, and he told me he will absolutely help me in any way, but he is a ‘behind the scenes’ guy. He doesn’t want to be a figurehead,” he said. “He was more concerned in helping me and the lodge be successful than he was in having a position of leadership.”

Cochrane noted that Anderson has helped by supporting and pushing the group’s initiatives, and they like having him around for his culinary abilities as well — he’s cooked a whole hog and gumbos at Elks Lodge events, and he’s quick to help advertise and push community events.

“As Gordon does these countless tasks, he has never asked for recognition for any of it,” Cochrane added.

But it’s Anderson’s work in the community that stood out most for the award.

“The foremost of these is his work with The Rant,” Cochrane said of this very publication. “Many people, including myself, use The Rant solely for local news and updates.”

He also touted Anderson’s work with political campaigns, his service on two City of Sanford committees (the Board of Adjustments and the Housing Appeals Board) and his support of local businesses. “Gordon is a firm supporter of local business, and he uses his platform with The Rant to push for them on a regular basis.”

Cochrane added: “Gordon is a top notch citizen of Sanford, and I am truly blessed to call him a fellow Elk, fellow Sanford citizen and most importantly a friend. It is truly my honor to award him our highest local award, and it is my opinion he deserves this and so much more.”

“I can’t believe Nathan and the Elks Lodge thought of me as worthy of any kind of award,” Anderson said. “But of course, I’m flattered and honored, and I don’t really know what else to say other than ‘thank you.’”