DALLAS, Dec. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dallas Morning News has named Admiral Bill McRaven as the Dallas Morning News 2011 Texan of the Year, culminating an editorial series that began on December 13. The Texas-bred, four-star chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command, McRaven served as commander of the May 1 special operations raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.As noted in the editorial, "Americans will probably never know all the reasons why Adm. Bill McRaven deserves special acknowledgment, since the vast majority of his 34 years in the military involves classified work as a Navy SEALs officer. What little is known publicly, however, makes clear McRaven's profound impact – not just on Texas but the world."
The full text of the editorial appears in Sunday's paper and posted at dallasnews.com/texanoftheyear. Also, readers can share their opinions of the selection by visiting the editorial blog, http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com . Sunday's editorial culminated a 10-part series that named the following finalists, in alphabetical order: Bruce Beutler, Nobel Prize winner from UT-Southwestern Medical Center, honored for work in immunology; Taryn Guerrero Davis, Iraq war widow who started a national network to help others who lost spouses in the military; Rodney Ellis and Pete Gallego, state lawmakers who achieved major criminal justice victories in the Legislature; Hilton Kelley, environmental advocate who won a prestigious international prize for organizing work; R. Bowen Loftin, Aggie president who led the university into the Southeastern Conference, terminating a storied Texas rivalry; Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks star who took the team to the top of the basketball world; Nolan Ryan, for guiding the Texas Rangers through a team tragedy; Jeff Sandefer, college professor/business entrepreneur who roiled the higher education establishment with reform ideas; and the Texas polygamy prosecution/investigation team, for bringing cult leaders to justice for child abuse.
Now in its ninth year, the Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year series draws from reader nominations to the newspaper's Editorial Board. Criteria call for "a Texan (or Texans) who has had uncommon impact – positive or negative – over the past year." The Editorial Board selected the finalists and winner through an internal vote. "Year after year, our readers send in such varied, worthy and thought-provoking candidates for Texan of the Year, that it is quite a challenge for our board to select 10 finalists and from there, the Texan of the Year," said Keven Ann Willey, vice president and editorial page editor of The News. "What stands out to me in 2011 is the depth and variety of finalists who may not be household names, but I am confident our readers will agree that we have arrived at a very strong list." Recent Dallas Morning News Texans of the Year include:
- 2010: Texas governor Rick Perry (for his peerless political instincts that led to an unprecedented third term as Texas governor and catapulted him onto the national stage)
- 2009: The Heroes of Fort Hood (recognizing those caught up in the terror of a mass shooting, extended to include all Fort Hood-based military people and their families)
- 2008: Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins (for his dedication to reversing cases of injustice)
- 2007: the illegal immigrant (caused the political and social pot to boil, while keeping Texas' economy humming)
- 2006: Roy Velez of Lubbock (for exemplifying love and compassion in the face of overwhelming tragedy, the war-related loss of his two sons)
- 2005: the city of Houston (for its stellar response to Hurricane Katrina victims)