The recipient of the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award described his reaction in one word.
“Wow,” Ricky Parks said in remarks on Thursday evening at the chief local business booster organization’s annual gathering at Nash Community College.
“I cannot explain the tremendous honor it is to receive this award tonight,” Parks said. “The support, the encouragement has been overwhelming — and I am extremely grateful for everyone who has taken the time out to congratulate me.”
Parks is chief deputy marshal at the state Supreme Court, but he has remained firm in his roots as a local law enforcement officer by continuing to serve part-time with the Rocky Mount Police Department.
Parks on Thursday evening particularly expressed thanks to God, to his family and to role models in his life.
Parks told the gathering that those who know him best — and contrary to the beliefs of some — know he could not care less about being that proverbial hood ornament, a reference to the Chamber award.
“I just really like to be a piece of that puzzle that makes things happen,” Parks said.
Parks emphasized that those who know him know he does not care for those who belittle anyone or look down on someone.
Parks also emphasized that he becomes very disappointed in people who forget where they come from and those who helped them get where they are today.
Parks said that is because no person achieves anything in life on his or her own.
“And to me, our destiny depends on relationships and treating everyone with dignity and respect,” he said. “And the reason I’m laying this foundation here is because I wonder: How in the world did I get to this distinct honor?
“So I think back, in receiving this award tonight has really caught me off guard, because I really kind of pride myself in people not really knowing what I do or who I know, because to me, if you do it seeking recognition, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons,” he said.
“And I can truly say that I never saw this moment, this moment right here, coming with me as the hood ornament,” he said.
John Manley, who is a former city police chief, introduced Parks as numerous past photographs of Parks were shown on giant screens.
Additionally, three more people received honors Thursday evening from the Chamber.
The President’s Award went to Chamber Economic Development Director Alan Matthews, while the Ambassador of the Year Award went to Elizabeth Overton of First Carolina Bank and the Volunteer of the Year Award went to Kathy Akers of Fathom Realty.
State Chief Justice Cheri Beasley was the featured speaker and District Attorney Robert Evans introduced her.