Longtime Businessman, Volunteer Bill Ahtes Honored with Award - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Longtime Businessman, Volunteer Bill Ahtes Honored With Salisbury Award

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SALISBURY, Md.- It is the oldest civic award in the city of Salisbury. The Salisbury Award was established back in 1926 by local businessman William Phillips, who chose to remain anonymous until his death in 1950.

The Salisbury Award recognizes individuals who have contributed to the happiness, advancement and growth of the city. Recent winners include such individuals as Tony Sarbanes and George Whitehead. Friday, long-time businessman and volunteer Bill Ahtes joined that list in a surprise presentation.

"Most people in the Salisbury area that have been around for a while would recognize him as really one of the visionaries of downtown," explained John McClellan of Sperry Van Ness, who serves as a Trustee on the board for the Salisbury Award. "I mean, downtown's still going through a transition today, but back in the day, the 70's and 80's, Bill was very instrumental in many of the well-known projects today."

Ahtes is a recognized face, with a dedicated history of service to his community.

"He's very involved with the Joseph House and homeless ministry here on the streets of Salisbury, and really when he goes to Florida in the winter, he does the same thing there," McClellan noted.

Friday, lifetime Salisbury resident Bill Ahtes was among the crowd, for what he thought were some simple remarks about the Third Friday event downtown. But the rest of the crowd knew something he didn't: Ahtes was about to join the ranks of some 60 distinguished Salisbury residents, honored over the years for their contributions to the city of Salisbury.

The recognition came as a total surprise to Ahtes, who accepted the award with his trademark humility.

"I appreciate it very much, I really do," he said. "But if it wasn't for some of the people that were here before me, who helped me, it would have never been done. I had no money, I had no way of doing anything, but people trusted me and they helped me when I needed it and the city worked with me and the county worked with me and it worked out fine."

The Salisbury Award comes with a $500 contribution to the recipient's charity of choice.

As for his message to the community, Ahtes said, "The message is very simple... Put faith in God, and work. You've got to work."

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