URBANNA—The Rotary Club of Middlesex County recently announced that Fred and Bettie Lee Gaskins of Urbanna, publishers of the Southside Sentinel for over 50 years and leaders of Christmas Friends Inc. for 31 years, will be recognized with the club’s 2017 Pride of Middlesex Award.
The award will be presented during a banquet April 8 at the Hartfield Firehouse Pavilion. A social hour will begin at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m., and speakers after dinner.
Fred and Bettie Lee came to Middlesex as newlyweds in 1966 and purchased the Southside Sentinel, then an 8-page paper printed on an antique press in Urbanna. They soon adopted modern printing processes, developed what they say is “a dedicated and talented staff,” added new technology when feasible and continued the paper’s emphasis on strictly local news to create the Sentinel of today.
Over the years the Gaskinses also have been involved in a number of community activities, but from October to December each year Christmas Friends occupies lots of their time. The program provides Christmas gifts for needy children and elderly adults in Middlesex County. Fred is president and Bettie Lee is secretary of the organization.
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