The City of Sparks has chosen Geno Martini for mayor in every election since 2006 and Monday the Reno Gazette-Journal recognized him as its "Citizen of the Year."

Martini was elected to the Sparks City Council in 1998 and took over as mayor in 2005 when the previous mayor, Tony Armstrong, died following a surgery. Since then, Martini has been elected every four years, sometimes by huge margins.

On Monday the RGJ officially proclaimed him Citizen of the Year, listing his accomplishments for the city and his long history of leadership, starting as student body president at Sparks High School.

"Thank you," Martini said, getting choked up during the presentation. "It's overwhelming to me, really."

Martini went on to thank his council, the constituents, his staff, and his family for their help and support as he led the city through a recession and into a period of unprecedented growth.

Editors at the RGJ said even the other nominees for the award agreed that Martini was the right choice for the honor.

"He has been instrumental in remaking downtown," RGJ Engagement Editor Brett McGinness said. "He's been a part of bringing on the SouthEast Connector, bringing in Legends. It really is a lifetime achievement award, because he's been serving this community for decades now."

Martini has been battling Parkinson's disease, and previously announced that he will not seek re-election this year.