Diemoz named Citizen of the Year

Dennis WebbGSPI News Editor

Floyd Diemoz has committed much of his life to the betterment of Glenwood Springs and respecting and honoring its history.Saturday night, he secured his own place in that history as Glenwood honored him.Diemoz was named Citizen of the Year at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Associations annual banquet, held at the Hotel Colorado. Bob Zanella was named the chambers Volunteer of the Year.Both men were swarmed by family members who congratulated them on their awards.Diemozs honor comes less than two weeks after the death of his father, Adolph. The son of Italian immigrants who settled in the valley in 1906, Adolph Diemoz was a legendary Roaring Fork Valley figure a cowboy, politician, and founder of Diemoz Construction, the business Floyd Diemoz now runs with his son, John.U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, a Glenwood native, told Diemoz, Ill tell you, Floyd, if we could have given Adolph a few more days, he would have been very proud.Floyd Diemozs mother, Edith, was among those who joined him on stage when he accepted his award.In honoring Floyd Diemoz, we also pay homage to four generations of this grand pioneer family, Tillie Fischer said as she and her husband, Rolly, spoke on Diemozs behalf.Longtime friends of Diemoz, the Fischers recounted his lifes highlights, starting with his birth in Glenwood Springs at a veterinary hospital. He graduated from high school in Glenwood and earned an electrical engineering degree at Denver University. After briefly working in his chosen field in California, he returned home to join his fathers construction company.Among the notable projects Diemoz was involved in, Rolly Fischer particularly cited: Moving and remodeling the first Frontier Historical Society museum building, which now houses YouthZone. Remodeling the downtown WestStar Bank, with its historical motif. Building an expansion of the Hotel Denver at the site of the old Rex Hotel. Extensive renovations and historic restoration at the Hot Springs Lodge & Pool. Renovation of the old American Legion Hall building into the Balcomb & Green law office building.Rolly Fischer said Diemozs work reflected a respect for local history.Among the signs of that respect: When the Hotel Colorado removed a balcony built for Teddy Roosevelt to give a Fourth of July address to Glenwood residents, Diemoz saved it from the junkyard and incorporated it into his home. He likewise saved the coal stove from the Midland Railroad ticket office. During demolition of the Rex Hotel, he preserved letters that were found that had been written by its patrons.Saturdays chamber banquet had the theme of remembering Glenwoods history, which made Diemozs award all the more fitting.But Diemoz has preserved far more than pieces of Glenwoods history. Perhaps more than any other person, Diemoz also saved Glenwood Canyon from being sacrificed for the sake of an interstate highway.He was instrumental in pushing for the formation of a citizens committee that advised the Colorado Department of Transportation on how to build Interstate 70 in the canyon in a safe yet ecologically and aesthetically sensitive way.It took somebody with special talents to bring everybody together, McInnis said in recalling Diemozs work on the canyon project.Diemoz likewise worked through the Rotary Club to clean up a former limestone plant, paving the way for the creation of Two Rivers Park. He also was instrumental in building the citys first soccer fields.He has been a director of the Hot Springs Lodge & Pool for 15 years, and was an original stockholder and director of Sunlight Mountain Resort.Said Tillie Fischer, It is not so much what he has done, but how he has done it. It has been done with humility, modesty, very quietly, but very effectively. Because when he speaks, people know that he speaks from a basis of knowledge, experience and with temperance. So people know that when he speaks, people listen, and things happen, she said.In accepting his award, Diemoz told the audience, You dont know the feeling, the swelling in my heart. I thank you very much.

Zanella, a former Glenwood Springs mayor, was chosen as the chambers volunteer of the year by the chambers staff members.Bob was just an amazing volunteer all year, chamber director Marianne Virgili said in an interview.Zanella serves as a chamber Ambassador, participating in ribbon-cuttings at member businesses. But Virgili said Zanella was particularly helpful during last Junes Strawberry Days at Sayre Park, when an out-of-state vendor died on the park premises of natural causes, leaving the vendors distraught spouse in need of community assistance.Bob was the one that stepped in as a volunteer and took care of all the finances and was basically a godsend all weekend, said Virgili.A Glenwood Springs native, he was a longtime member of City Council and served as the citys mayor during the trauma of the Storm King Fire a decade ago. Since leaving council, Zanella has been active in the citys Downtown Development Authority. He is currently volunteering as its acting director.Zanella started his business career in Glenwood Springs as the owner of the Buttercup Bakery a part of his life recounted fondly by McInnis. Later in life Zanella worked in advertising sales for the Glenwood Post.Zanella is of Italian ancestry, and the chamber is rewarding him for his efforts by sending him on a vacation to Italy.Im actually out of words and that doesnt happen that often, Zanella told chamber members in accepting his award.Before relinquishing the microphone Saturday, Diemoz couldnt help but boast proudly that he, Zanella and some other notables in the room were all part of the class of 1955 high school graduates in Glenwood.It was, Diemoz proclaimed proudly, the greatest class out of Glenwood Springs.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext.

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