The Rotary Club of Saipan named Century Insurance Co. Ltd. president David M. Sablan as its “Citizen of the Year” on Friday, the first time the award was given to a member of the club.
Sablan, the 21st recipient of the Citizen of the Year award, was honored during the club’s installation ceremony for new officers and directors at Aqua Resort Club.
Previous recipients of the award include Bishop Thomas A. Camacho, businessmen Jose “Joeten” C. Tenorio, Manuel S. Villagomez, Juan T. Guerrero, baseball statistician Francisco M. Palacios, and former Lt. Gov. Francisco C. Ada.
“This evening we make exception to a long standing club tradition. For the first time in our club’s 37-year history, the Rotary Club of Saipan presents its Citizen of the Year award to one of its own, in recognition of a Rotarian’s lifetime contributions to our community,” said public auditor and Rotary Club member Michael Sablan, who introduced the awardee Friday night.
In accepting the award, Sablan urged his fellow Rotary members to give their time and effort in serving the community.
Born on April 2, 1932, David Sablan began his career over 50 years ago with Atkins, Kroll (Guam) Ltd., where he rose from being traffic clerk to president and general manager, and upon his retirement, as chairman of the company.
Sablan was also a pioneer of the local tourism industry. He founded and co-owned Pacific Micronesia Corp., which established the hotel now known as the Dai-Ichi Hotel Saipan Beach. He was also the founder, president and part owner of Tasi Tours from 1976 to 1985.
Together with his wife, Rita, Sablan ran his own export company in California from 1987 to 1990.
Back on Saipan in the early ‘90s, Sablan served as then Gov. Larry I. Guerrero’s special assistant for planning and budget.
In 1993, he went back to the private sector to work for Tan Holdings Corp., where he presently holds several key executive positions.
Sablan’s community involvement includes appointments to boards and task forces such as the Governor’s Economic Advisory Council, CNMI Aviation Task Force, and the Strategic Economic Development Council.
He has been a board member of the Marianas Visitors Authority for 29 years, 20 of which he has served as chairman of the board. In April 2004, he was appointed to a two-year term on the board of the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
“Our honoree complements his public service by being closely involved with civic and community groups. The list of civic and community organizations he has served on is long,” said Michael Sablan. “But of all the honors bestowed to our honoree, of all the distinctions he has earned, of the long list of accomplishments and successes to his credit, it was his involvement in 1968 in founding the Rotary Club of Saipan that we Rotarians, as a club, appreciate the greatest.”
During the Friday program, Superior Court associate judge and Rotary Club member David Wiseman swore in the new officers and directors of the club.
James Whitt of Ernst and Young took his oath as the new president, replacing broadcaster Harry Blalock.
Whitt vowed to continue Blalock’s efforts to increase the club’s membership and to lead the club in project benefiting the community. The ever-jolly new president also promised a “fun” year for the Rotary members.
Also installed were Agnes McPhetres as president-elect, Patrick Calvo as vice president, Deanna K. Tessen as secretary, Stephen Brock as treasurer, Laurie Peterka as director of club services, Juan T. Lizama as director of community services, Maggie George as director of vocational services, and Mike Brazel as sergeant-at-arms.