PORTSMOUTH — In 2020, Portsmouth was named an All-America City by the National Civic League, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with the mission of advancing civic engagement to create equitable and thriving communities.
Jeremy Burnside, one of the instrumental men behind the award two years ago, has now been posthumously awarded the first All-America Leader award.
“Jeremy exhibited a lifetime of civic leadership and contributed significantly to the comeback of his beloved Portsmouth, Ohio,” wrote the National Civic League in the announcement. “Too often people believe that it is hard for one person to make a positive difference. Jeremy Burnside turns that belief on its head. Jeremy holds no public office and isn’t head of any civic organization. In fact, he isn’t even a native of the place he pours his heart into.”
Burnside was originally from Cleveland and moved to Portsmouth to open his Burnside Law Firm around 10 years ago.
After that, he became a community volunteer, leader and entrepreneur.
“Jeremy made it his mission to breathe life into his community and make Portsmouth the ultimate come city…For many, Portsmouth was best known for its battle with the opioid crisis and the negative attention taking its toll on local businesses and community morale. Convinced that there was more to Portsmouth, Jeremy initiated the idea of Portsmouth’s ‘comeback’.”
Burnside proposed the idea of a Guinness World Record Breaking attempt in Plant Portsmouth, which saw thousands of residents planting pots at the same time after cleaning up the downtown.
Following that he oversaw two more world records – the most people caroling simultaneously and the most people wrapping gifts simultaneously.
Burnside also oversaw the formation of two civic organizations: The Friends of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Unity Project.
The Friends of Portsmouth have started the renowned Winterfest celebration, and also organize the 4th of July and River Days celebrations.
The Portsmouth Unity Project celebrates black history, the underground railroad, and brought back Portsmouth’s emancipation day celebration.
Burnside passed away last month from a rare form of cancer.
But his work and his legacy will forever cement him as an All-America Leader.
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