Local couple honored as 2010 Citizens of the West
Craig Moffat County may be a remote corner of the state, but that didn't keep the National Western Stock Show from honoring two of its residents as the 2010 Citizens of the West.
Tom and Becky Kourlis, who used to live in Craig, but now split their time between Moffat County and Denver, "perfectly embody" the ideals of the West, said Mary McMorris, co-chair of the Citizen of the West arrangements committee for National Western.
"It's about good management of the land, respect for all your neighbors, not only the people, but the animals you share the land with," McMorris said about the award. "It's a kind of lifestyle. It's probably the reason you all live in Craig.
"You perpetuate the idea that there is a choice in the way you live, the way you raise your family. It's not asphalt and bright lights. It's bright stars and rich soil."
Tom and Becky are the third couple to win in the award's 40-plus year history, McMorris said, and the first legacy. Becky's parents, John and Ann Love, accepted the award in 1989.
The couple will accept the award at a dinner Jan. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center.
Among their accomplishments, Tom, who was raised on his family's ranch outside of Craig, was appointed the state's commissioner of agriculture in 1994 by then-Gov. Roy Romer.
He also helped create the American Lamb Board in 2002 and served as chairman of the organization for some time.
After earning a law degree from Stanford University, Becky served as a judge in Moffat, Routt and Grand counties in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
She was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1995, where she served until 2006, when she left to form a special organization at the University of Denver with the purpose of making the civil justice system more speedy, fair and inexpensive.
McMorris added that the most important part of the awards dinner isn't the award itself but the college scholarships awarded to students who plan to return to their hometowns.
For more information about student scholarships, call Andrea Miller at 303-299-5560.