Citizens of the Year

Longtime Carlsbad volunteers Zona Murray and Phil Urbina have been named Carlsbad Citizens of the Year, an annual award that recognizes community members who have dedicated themselves to improving Carlsbad through outstanding service. Zona and Phil were chosen by a committee of Carlsbad residents and recognized during a ceremony at City Hall in July.

Zona has lived in Carlsbad since 1968, when she bought and restored one of the city’s oldest houses. Zona’s volunteer efforts have had a wide reach, with projects and initiatives that have benefited local students in particular. She became involved with Soroptimist International in 1975, through which she initiated a program that gave students in local schools an opportunity to propose solutions for the world’s societal problems. She initiated a program that awards art scholarships to high school students in Carlsbad and Oceanside; she also gives scholarships to seniors at Murray High School, which was named for her late husband, Maj. Gen. Raymond Murray. Today she continues to help fund research for post-traumatic stress disorder in his honor.

Phil served as the president of the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau Adopt-a-Family Project for 20 years, providing needy families with food and gifts during the holidays. “I’ve always found great joy in helping people,” Phil said. In 1986 he joined the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club, and quickly became involved in the club’s annual Oktoberfest charity fundraiser, serving as the event co-chair since 2013. Phil has been active in a number of other groups over the years as well, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad, La Costa Youth Organization, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, and Knights of Columbus.

For more than 40 years, the Citizen of the Year program has honored community members who have given their time and energy toward the civic improvement, beautification, and betterment of the City of Carlsbad. Discover more at