Colonial Heights council honors ‘first citizen’
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Dec 23, 2013, 09:56
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — City Council took a moment to honor a longtime public servant last week.
Elvira Shaw served as the secretary of the Colonial Heights Electoral Board for 50 years as well as numerous other roles. She died Oct. 3 at the age of 93.
A framed resolution was presented to members of her family from Mayor Scott Davis.
“Its an honor for me to do this on behalf of city council. Many of us probably have our own story about Elvira,” Davis said.
The resolution noted the numerous groups in which she volunteered.
“Shaw selflessly gave her time in service to her community by serving as the Secretary of the Colonial Heights Electoral Board from 1961 to 2011; and during her lifetime, Mrs. Shaw also served as a founder or member of numerous organizations, including the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Board of Social Services, the District 19 Community Services Board, the Board of Directors of the Crater District Area Agency on Aging, the Community Criminal Justice Board, the Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, the Richard Bland College Foundation Board, and the Colonial Heights Federated Women’s Club,” it states.
It also recognizes her service to the state, as she had been appointed by former Gov. Chuck Robb, Gerald Baliles, Douglas Wilder, and Mark Warner to various advisory boards on volunteerism and services for senior citizens.
Her son, Ben, and his wife, Nancy, were on hand to accept the honor.
“She loved Colonial Heights. 56 years she lived here. She would be very proud. She’d be happy she got an award. She loved awards,” he said, drawing laughs. “She’d be more proud of the work she did to earn this.”
Councilman John Wood said Shaw played an important role in the city.
“I can tell you that I served on council for many years during her service, and she was often regarded as ... Colonial Heights’ first citizen, not because she was the oldest citizen as she sometimes may have thought, but because quite often she was the face of Colonial Heights outside of Colonial Heights.”
Wood said that although he had political differences with Shaw, it never became personal.
“There was always a grace and a charm, a willingness to engage in a friendly and cordial manner. But where you went outside of Colonial Heights in any of the halls of the General Assembly or political organizations or the administration of the state, the name Elvira Shaw would immediately be recognized and open doors for citizens of Colonial Heights,” he said.
Wood said it will take multiple people to fulfill her duties in the city, but “there will always be only one Elvira Shaw.”