Portsmouth’s First Citizen 2022 Award for Presented to Eric Sasser

Mark EdwardsCommunity Service

Congratulations to our own Eric Sasser for being named First Citizen of Portsmouth 2022 at the Annual Awards Banquet at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Portsmouth. We are so proud of the many years of community service and the huge impact Eric has made on the community and surrounding areas.
In a tradition that began 90 years ago in 1932, the citizens of Portsmouth have honored an individual for his or her contributions to the community by naming that individual Portsmouth’s First Citizen. The annual award recognizes individuals who embody the spirit of citizenship through service to the community. Nominations for the honor are submitted by the public and the honoree is determined by a committee composed of former First Citizens.

“Eric’s decades of support for our community have been invaluable and he is truly deserving of the title Portsmouth’s First Citizen. From his years devoted to the Churchland Youth Basketball League and Little League to building homes for those in need and remodeling a free health clinic for Portsmouth, he has been there whenever and wherever the community needed him. All while running a premier home-building company,” said Judy Boyce Perry, chair of the Portsmouth First Citizen committee and Portsmouth’s First Citizen of 2018.

Mr. Sasser and his team donated their talents to remodel a building for the Maryview Foundation Healthcare Center, which provides health care to those who can’t afford it. They built homes in Portsmouth and Suffolk as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz. In 2010 Sasser Construction built a Southern Living Showcase Model Home in The Riverfront and with developer East West Partners, was able to raise $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity. Also, in 2010, Sasser Construction built The Tidewater Builders Association Charity House to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia.

In 2013, he completed the expansive restoration of the iconic Portsmouth Woman’s Club. Built in the 1930s as the Portsmouth Country Club, the property was annexed by the city of Portsmouth in 1948 and flourished as the Woman’s Club of Portsmouth from the early 1950s. The venue held many happy memories of weddings and other celebrations, but had gradually fallen into decline. In 2011, the Portsmouth Service League bought the property with the hope of reclaiming the vintage building. It was Eric Sasser who stepped forward and volunteered his company, the resources of his contractors and whatever else it took to do the job. Today the renewed structure, enlarged and modernized while retaining its classic southern elegance, remains the backdrop for a world of new memories, with all profits going back to the Portsmouth community through the League’s grants to local nonprofit organizations and scholarships.“After a hiatus due to the pandemic, we are so excited to be able to come back together to celebrate the best of Portsmouth! Whenever a need arises in the city of Portsmouth, Eric has always been ready with his support. Big or small.  His gift of his company’s services renovating the Portsmouth Woman’s Club for our League has truly been a gift that keeps on giving to Portsmouth. It’s a stunningly beautiful event venue, plus the profits go back to the community in donations, grants and scholarships, year after year,”  said Portsmouth Service League President Jennifer Markham.

Branch Lawson, President of the Hampton Roads Division for East West Partners, also spoke about the many accomplishments that Eric Sasser and his team have had on the homebuilding industry in Hampton Roads. Sasser became a featured builder with East West at Gatling Pointe in 1990, in Smithfield. In 1993, Sasser became a member of the Southern Living Custom Home Builder Program and built a Parade of Home model in Gatling Pointe South. In 2000, Sasser also helped East West jump start their award winning community in Suffolk – The Riverfront at Harbour View with many more Showcase Homes. Sasser has also been a featured builder with East West Partners in Founders Pointe, another award winning custom home community.

To see more about the many contributions that Eric has made to the community, visit the Portsmouth Service League article- https://www.pslva.com/first-citizen-of-portsmouth  i