2021 Citizen of the Year Gerry Mulligan: community champion, cheerleader and supporter of people doing good things
t was a Friday in November 1978, Gerry Mulligan’s first day as editor of the Citrus County Chronicle.
Back then, the paper came out two times a week and work was finished by noon on Fridays.
At noon, Mulligan asked his boss, David Arthurs, “What’s next?”
Just then, a woman pushed open the door of the Chronicle office in downtown Inverness, handed 24-year-old Mulligan a piece of chalk and said, “Come with me.”
The woman, the late Nancy Dodge, wife of local physician Ed Dodge, was with the Art League, and the chalk was to mark off spaces on the sidewalks around the courthouse square for booths for that weekend’s Festival of the Arts.
That’s the moment Mulligan learned that the role of a community newspaper and its editor – and later its publisher – was more than just getting the news out.
It’s also about being part of the fabric of the community by rolling up your sleeves and doing everything from marking sidewalk spaces with chalk or sweeping up an auditorium after a political forum to providing leadership and encouragement to various local organizations and citizens.