Nobody is more surprised at the choice for Suffolk’s First Citizen 2015 than the man himself.
The Suffolk native and real estate agent joins a list of distinguished honorees that included, last year, the now late Robert W. “Bobby” Harrell Jr. Others include Dr. R. Leroy Howell Sr., M. Caroline Martin, former state Sen. Fred Quayle, Douglas Naismith, Delegate Chris Jones, Betsy Brothers, Ross Boone, attorney Whitney Saunders, longtime Councilman Curtis R. Milteer Sr., historian Sue Woodward, former mayor E. Dana Dickens III and others.
“I’m not sure that I’m worthy to be in with the crew there before me,” Chorey said.
The award was given by the Cosmopolitan Club in 1956 through 1998, when the club disbanded. The Rotary Club of Suffolk picked up the mantle in 2003, and the North Suffolk Rotary Club joined in the recognition starting in 2010.
Chorey is a 1969 graduate of Suffolk High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce from the University of Virginia in 1973 and a Master of Business Administration degree in 1974 from Old Dominion University.
He is a Realtor, real estate agent, appraiser and broker and owns Chorey & Associates Realty. He’s a past executive committee member of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association and former member and chairman of the Suffolk Board of Equalization for Assessments and has won numerous awards for longevity, salesmanship and ethics in his profession.
But more important to many is what he does away from the real estate world — his charitable work.
“He does these acts of kindness from the shadows, in stealth-like mode because he does not want any type of recognition,” wrote Susan Blair in her nomination of Chorey. “When you talk to Billy about his contributions to the community and to the different organizations that he has been involved in, he says, ‘What are you talking about?’ He wants no spotlight on these accomplishments.”
Marcus Pollard, who also wrote a nomination of Chorey, echoed that sentiment.
“Billy has also made it a point to not highlight his contributions and as such I believe it should be the role of his fellow citizens to do so,” Pollard wrote.
Chorey has served as a Farmers Bank director, as a member and past president of the Suffolk Rotary Club, a trustee and secretary/treasurer of the Birdsong Trust Fund. He is a past director of the ACCESS College Foundation and the Better Business Bureau of Hampton Roads. He is a former board member of the Suffolk Salvation Army, a past director of the Better Business Bureau and a past member of the Virginia State Bar Professional Standards Committee. He also is a former board of trustees member and chairman at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.
“I’m just blown away and extremely grateful and very, very honored,” Chorey said. “I’m going to accept it with grace and humility.”
Chorey will be honored at a reception at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Tickets can be obtained from any member of the Suffolk or North Suffolk Rotary clubs.