Even though someone had arranged for her mother to be at Thursday’s State of the City address, where the mayor would announce the recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award, Nell Moll didn’t guess that the recipient would be her.

Moll, director of membership, opportunities and enthusiasm at the Milford Chamber of Commerce, and the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade grand marshal, said she was completely surprised when she was announced as the Mayor’s Distinguished Citizen Award winner, believed to be the first such award in Milford.

In announcing the award, Mayor Ben Blake described the recipient “as the heart and soul of Milford.”

In a proclamation read in her honor, Blake said, “Nell Moll has provided outstanding civic service to the community of Milford over many decades,” and “her devotion to Milford extends beyond her call of duty.”

“Nell is known for her ability to connect the right people to the perfect charity to support, the best mechanic for car repair, the finest local eatery for an enjoyable evening, and even the ideal business partner for a lifetime of success and prosperity,” Blake said in reading the proclamation.

Moll has long been at the heart of Milford, from the 1990s when she owned Issie’s Big News, a newspaper and magazine shop that also sold coffee on River Street, to today, where she works at the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Milford.

Her business philosophy has always reflected her personality, she said during an interview several years after taking the Chamber job. She believes you have to talk to someone to get to know and understand them.

And she knows a lot of Milford people.

“I find people interesting, fascinating. There’s so much good in people. You don’t have to look hard to find it,” Moll said.

Usually one to stay out of the limelight, Moll said she was “staggered, stunned” and “honored” when she was selected grand marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

And she said the same thing Thursday afternoon at the Milford Yacht Club, when she was presented with the Distinguished Citizen Award.

“I’m honored,” she said. “This is truly amazing.”