Our Opinion: Recognize Wilson’s best by voting in Gold Award, Readers’ Choice contests

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In separate online contests, readers of The Wilson Times can recognize their favorite restaurants, businesses, schools and local professionals and give a thumbs-up to the best letters to the editor we’ve printed in the first month of 2018.

Voting is open for the popular Readers’ Choice Awards and the John D. Gold Award for commentary on WilsonTimes.com. We hope both contests will prove popular as Wilson County residents take the time to weigh in.


Which storied smokehouse deserves barbecue bragging rights? Which attorneys, doctors, insurance agents and Realtors are Wilson’s most trusted? Where’s the best place to shop for clothing, shoes, furniture and electronics?

Wilsonians will decide by voting in the 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. In its second incarnation, the contest boasts 180 categories, some with more than a dozen nominees. It’s a fun, friendly competition that allows community members to reward the businesses and professionals who go above and beyond by casting a literal vote of confidence.

The awards are highly coveted and all nominees are encouraged to rally their regulars to participate. Many businesses that received Readers’ Choice recognition proudly display the plaques and even tout the distinction on banners and on their websites and social media pages.

It’s not just brick-and-mortar businesses who will be judged the best of the best in Wilson. Voters can select their favorite teacher, bartender, waiter or waitress and hairstylist, too. Politics come into play in two categories: Favorite elected official and favorite community ambassador.

Nominees are organized under six themes — brags, cars and trucks, dining, education, places, professionals, services and shopping.

Readers’ Choice honors rely on the wisdom of the crowd to reward quality products, fair business practices and superior customer service. While online review sites often trend toward the negative and deal in the cynical currency of unsubstantiated gripes, we feel it’s better to raise the bar by recognizing the folks who do things right.

Vote in the 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards by filling out the official voting guide distributed in Friday’s paper or visit WilsonTimes.com to pick your favorites online. Each visitor can vote once per category per day, so the more you weigh in, the better the chances that the businesses, institutions and professionals you trust will be honored with an award.

Online voting ends at 5 p.m. Friday, March 2, and all voting guides must be returned on that date. Winners will be announced in The Wilson Times on Friday, April 13.


From political pugilism to poignant life lessons to explorations of community problems and their solutions, letters to the editor published on this opinion page help set the tone for Wilson County’s civic discourse. Reviving a tradition begun in the early 2000s, the Times is recognizing local letter-writers for excellence in community commentary.

The Elizabeth Swindell Award is given by the Times editorial board and the John D. Gold Award is decided by public online vote. Monthly winners for the Swindell and Gold awards will be selected and the 12 finalists in each category will compete for the annual honors.

All letters to the editor published in the month of January 2018 are eligible for John D. Gold Award voting. To participate, visit WilsonTimes.com and click on the “John D. Gold Award” button beneath the letters to the editor on the Times homepage.

Vote for your favorite letter by clicking the green “Vote” button at the bottom of each entry. The letter with the most online votes will be January’s monthly winner and a finalist for the 2018 Gold Award.

While voting in the Readers’ Choice contest is open until March 2, there’s only a week to choose the best letter published in January. Voting ends at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16. Check back next month to weigh in on the Gold Award nominee and monthly winner for February.