Locust Police Department names Citizen of the Year

At the Jan. 11 Locust City Council meeting, Locust Police Chief Jeff Shew recognized department Chaplain Mario Miller as the department’s 2023 Citizen of the Year.

The award was started by the department in 2021 to recognize Locust citizens “who have performed exemplary deeds or services for their city or their fellow citizens, and exhibit a strong sense of selflessness, caring, and responsibility.”

Shew stated that all that had been awarded Citizen of the Year prior were more than deserving, but Miller more than any other shows the traits and descriptors of the honor every day.

Miller, who is a 16-year U.S. Army veteran, and his family have resided in Locust for almost two years, and upon his arrival he immediately began making an impact in his daily visits at businesses and with residents in Locust.

“Miller’s daily mission is to uplift anyone he comes in contact with, encourage them, pray for them, help them if they need it and make sure they know about the love of Jesus,” the Department’s Facebook post about the honor proclaimed. “His boisterous personality and positivity have become well-known around Locust and surrounding areas including his regular visits to numerous Locust businesses, the Locust Government Center, West Stanly Senior Center, Locust VFW post, West Stanly Rotary Club, West Stanly Christian Ministries and many many more. He has also made it a regular practice to visit area law enforcement agencies and fire departments to offer his support, encouragement and prayer. He was named as a Chaplain for the Locust Police Department in July due to his constant encouragement and support of Locust officers that always involved taking time to pray for them when he would see them on-duty around Locust.”

In his remarks while presenting the award to Miller, Shew said: “I knew in January 2023 that Mario Miller was going to be our citizen of the year and all he continued to do throughout the year was solidify that opinion.”

Other citizens of the year have been Autumn Huneycutt in 2021 and Travis McKinney in 2022.