Vanderhoof, Schaffner, Wissing earn Glenwood Chamber honors | PostIndependent.com

Vanderhoof, Schaffner, Wissing earn Glenwood Chamber honors

The newly named Glenwood Springs Citizen of the Year and Athena award winners share a lot in common, working to mentor youth in the community and being role models as business and civic leaders.

Citizen of the Year honors at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association's awards night and gala, held Saturday at the Hotel Colorado, went to Glenwood native Steve Vanderhoof, a longtime banking executive, Valley View Hospital board member and Glenwood Springs High School girls and boys swim coach.

The annual Athena Award, honoring someone in the community who has helped open doors for women to succeed, was presented to YouthZone's director of mentoring for the past 25 years, Patty Schaffner.

And the Athena Young Professional Award was handed to active community volunteer and Glenwood native Amber Daniels Wissing.

"I don't know that what I do is all that special, I'm just following in my father's footsteps and owe a lot of what I learned to him," Vanderhoof said of his dad, Glenwood Industrial/Independent Bank founder and former mayor Don Vanderhoof.

A video tribute broke the surprise to Steve Vanderhoof, including testimonials to his community involvement from parents Don and Eddi Vanderhoof, wife Wendy and daughters Kendall and Kaitlyn, Valley View CEO Gary Brewer, and shout-outs from this year's girls swim team and friends.

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"I just do what I enjoy doing," Vanderhoof said. "I grew up here, and I just feel like it's important to give back."

In addition to working for more than three decades as a banking executive, Vanderhoof finds time to be an active member of the local Lions Club, is active with the Western Colorado Community Foundation, helped plan and build the Wulfsohn Mountain Park trail system and for the past few years has organized the annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K.

Schaffner was also humbled to be chosen as this year's Athena recipient.

"I work with so many great teenagers, and the reward is to see them find their passion to explore all that is available to them," Schaffner said after receiving the award. "When these young people become mentors and give back to others, they learn so much about themselves."

In her capacity as mentoring director at YouthZone, she had helped hundred of girls and women develop important leadership skills.

Her mentoring program was selected for a girls' dropout prevention pilot by the Women's Foundation of Colorado, and she has served on the task force. She also volunteers for the Youth for Christ program, and in 1997 began coaching swimming and diving at Glenwood Springs High.

"She is continuously asked to be a reference for scholarship, school, internships and job applications," former Athena recipient Debbie Wilde said in announcing Schaffner as this year's recipient. "For teens she is often the only person that young women starting into the world beyond school can turn to as someone who knows them in a professional capacity."

Athena Young Professional recipient Amber Daniels Wissing recently spearheaded a new nonprofit called Project PACK (Providing a Crisis Kit), which provides backpacks full of basic essentials for children in the community who cannot go home because of violence or other circumstances.

"It is truly amazing what one person can do," one of her nominators wrote. "She is an amazing leader, role model, volunteer, co-worker, mother, wife and friend … and she inspires others to achieve their fullest."

In addition, through her job as manager of a local dentist's office she organizes the annual Candy Buy-Back to support the troops, arranges free dental care for uninsured children, collects items for Easter baskets for kids in crisis, and organizes a friendly food drive competition between businesses for LIFT-UP.

Wissing was as surprised by the turnout of family and friends who showed up to support her in receiving the honor as she was to get the award itself.

"All of my family members who don't live here made it, and my best friend from Columbia, Missouri, even came," she said of friend Tara Shade who made the journey.

"I was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, and this event tonight is all about what it means to give back and what one person can do. All of these award winners have proven that," Wissing said.

Other individual award winners during the Chamber event included Suzanne Stewart, Volunteer of the Year, and Mogli Cooper, Glenwood Springs High School DECA Entrepreneur of the Year.

Several business awards were also handed out, including Philanthropic Business of the Year to Sweet Coloradough, which has donated more than 300,000 doughnuts to 290 different places and events since it opened in 2014.

Other business awards went to DM Neuman Construction, Top Brass Business of the Year, and the new Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Tourism Business of the Year.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS CHAMBER ANNUAL AWARD RECIPIENTS

Citizen of the Year

Steve Vanderhoof

Athena Award

Patty Schaffner

Athena Young Professional

Amber Daniels Wissing

Top Brass Business of the Year

DM Neuman Construction

Tourism Business of the Year

Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Volunteer of the Year

Suzanne Stewart

DECA Entrepreneur of the Year

Mogli Cooper

Philanthropic Business of the Year

Sweet ColoraDough