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Chamber Ball is like Glenwood’s Academy Awards

Marianne Virgili

A few weeks ago I got to have coffee in Denver with my friend and mentor, Molly Downs. Those of you lucky enough to know Molly remember her as one of the founders of Community on the Move, a group of concerned citizens who sat down one day and dreamed up ways to make Glenwood a better place to live. For Community on the Move, plus a raft of other volunteer efforts, Molly was awarded the title of Citizen of the Year in 1986.I was fairly new on staff the year of that presentation, but I knew it was something special, Glenwood’s version of the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. According to the application, it is given to someone who “makes Glenwood Springs a better place to live and work” and recognizes leadership and community involvement in a variety of fields. The recipient list reads like a Who’s Who of Glenwood, and while each recipient is recognized for a body of volunteer work, each person also seemed to have a passion for one particular endeavor. Patti Penland Phelps was honored for Garfield Youth Services; William Dodds Scott was revered for working with the Boy Scouts. Gen Doak served as a librarian for decades, Emmy Neil spent years teaching 4-H. Sam Skramstad headed up the City’s Centennial Committee, and Don Vanderhoof brought us Drums Along the Rockies. Bob Young was a philanthropist and banker, Bob Zanella was mayor during the Storm King Fire. John Martin was recognized for compassionate law enforcement, Stan Dodson and Floyd Diemoz for work in transportation and the Glenwood Canyon Project, Cameron Calder for downtown revitalization. Tillie Fischer, Jack Nilsson, Bill Bolitho and Egon Suebert were business and chamber leaders. There are also husband/wife teams of recipients: Tony and Pat Tonozzi, recognized for senior volunteerism; Steve and Jeanne Beckley for developing Glenwood Caverns; Jim and Mary Nelson for volunteering with Hospice, the chamber and the arts; and Marty and Eleanor Zemlock for work in scouting.There are names from the past, like Doc McFadden, Jim Fattor, Al Axthelm and Dean Vogelaar himself. Each has a legacy. These are the people that built the community in which we live. They made our life in Glenwood Springs what it is today. We keep the winner’s name a surprise, and I get to help honor the newest recipient by making sure their friends and family are notified in advance so that they can share in the honor. (I do have the best job in town!)The Citizen of the Year Selection Committee, made up of previous recipients, will select the newest honoree this month. Several applications have been submitted from the http://www.glenwoodchamber.com Web site. And the winner is …? You’ll have to attend the annual ball on Saturday, Jan. 29, to find out. For tickets, contact the chamber at 945-6589. Back to Molly: Not really retired, she volunteers at the State Capitol, Denver Center for the Arts and St. Anthony’s Hospital. Marianne Virgili, CCE, is president and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.


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