Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Robert Braxton to Receive 2023 Williamsburg Mace Bearer’s Award

Bobby Braxton (photo courtesy of City of Williamsburg)

WILLIAMSBURG — The City of Williamsburg is inviting the public to the One Williamsburg Holiday Reception, during which Robert “Bobby” A. Braxton will receive the 2023 Williamsburg Mace Bearer’s Award.

The holiday reception, slated for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Stryker Center, offers hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. The event is open to the public, and new residents of the City of Williamsburg will receive mailed invitations to encourage them to meet fellow engaged members of their new community, the city said.

The reception will culminate in a ceremony to present Braxton with the Williamsburg Mace Bearer’s Award for “his continued commitment to effecting positive change in the City of Williamsburg,” according to the city.

“We are excited to host this holiday reception in celebration of our Williamsburg residents,” Mayor Douglas Pons said. “Over the decades, Bobby has made his mark on this community through his outstanding public service and dedication to Williamsburg. We know his story serves as inspiration for what is possible in the City of Williamsburg.”

The Williamsburg Mace Bearer’s Award is the only award given by the city council to a member of the community and was started last year with Jim Joseph, longtime president of the Neighborhood Council of Williamsburg, as its inaugural recipient, the city said.

Braxton grew up on Braxton Court, named in honor of his grandfather, who built many of the houses on that street during the era of segregation in Williamsburg.

After attending Hampton Institute, now Hampton University, and serving in the U.S. Air Force, Braxton built a career in electrical engineering and raised his family outside of Williamsburg.

When the city received Community Development Block Grant funds to rehabilitate Braxton Court in the early 2000s, Braxton fiercely advocated for the project’s progress, making frequent trips to Williamsburg to gain the neighborhood’s support for the project and to attend city council meetings to ensure the project stayed on track, the city noted. The project was completed in 2008, two years after Braxton earned a seat on city council after retiring and returning to his hometown.

Since his one term on city council, Braxton has served on several of the city’s boards and commissions, including the Community Action Agency and, most recently, Truth and Reconciliation Committee. Braxton chaired the First Night Board of Directors and has been an active member of the First Baptist Church, Let Freedom Ring Foundation, Lemon Project Advisory Committee, Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, and Williamsburg Rotary.

“Bobby Braxton is an obvious choice for the Williamsburg Mace Bearer’s Award,” Pons said. “Since returning to Williamsburg in the early 2000s, he has been a fierce advocate for the City of Williamsburg and its residents. He always puts forth his best and, rightfully, expects the best for his community. We are proud to honor Bobby with this prestigious award.”

According to the city, recipients of the Mace Bearer’s Award have made significant contributions to the city beyond what is expected from their employment or professional roles; demonstrated creative leadership that has positively contributed to the cohesion and unity of the city community; and contributed to positive change and added value to the city community.

The award is named for the Mace of the City, a Colonial-era artifact that is now part of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s museum collections. In the 18th century, maces were used ceremonially to convey the importance of an event or function.

It is believed that the Mace of the City of Williamsburg was carried in a municipal procession on May 1, 1783, in celebration of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, the city noted.

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