“It’s difficult for me to sum up in words the contributions Marianna Raftopoulos made to this community because she was also such a dear friend. Marianna was a strong leader, a gracious woman representing our community in many areas and was long a proponent of our primary industries in town.”
— Audrey Danner, Moffat County Commissioner, on the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership’s decision to name the One-Stop Business Incubator in memory of the late Marianna Raftopoulos
The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Board voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of naming the One-Stop Business Incubator in memory of late Moffat County Commissioner and community leader Marianna Raftopoulos.
Raftopoulos, who died in April 2010 at 55 following an 11-year battle with chronic lymphoid leukemia, was very active in public service, most notably becoming the first woman elected to the Moffat County Commission.
Commissioner Audrey Danner, county liaison to the EDP Board, recalled fond memories Wednesday of her friend and the person who paved the way for women to hold county office.
“It’s difficult for me to sum up in words the contributions Marianna Raftopoulos made to this community because she was also such a dear friend,” Danner said. “Marianna was a strong leader, a gracious woman representing our community in many areas and was long a proponent of our primary industries in town.”
Before being honored Wednesday by the EDP, a summation of Raftopoulos’ life and work was read into the Congressional Record by Rep. Scott Tipton in January 2011 to memorialize her service to Northwest Colorado.
“She was a devoted public servant,” husband John Raftopoulos said upon hearing the news. “She stood up for what she believed in and had a bright political future.”
In addition to serving as county commissioner, a position she held for eight years, Raftopoulos also served in some capacity on boards for the EDP, The Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, and the Colorado Wildlife Commission, among others.
It was because of her many years of service to EDP that the board felt it appropriate to honor her Wednesday.
“I think it’s a wonderful tribute to the work she did,” former EDP Director Darcy Owens-Trask said. “She was an advocate for a vibrant economy in Craig and Moffat County not purely focused on our key industries, but on small business growth as well.”
Owens-Trask said the opening of the business incubator hinges on how quickly the EDP Board can hire her replacement.
If the board does not decide on a new executive director in the next two to three weeks, plans will be made for a soft opening to make business incubator services available to the public.
Should an executive director be found before then, Owens-Trask said a soft opening will be delayed until February followed by a dedication in March.
John Raftopoulos said the EDP’s decision Wednesday was an unexpected honor.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing and a great testament to all she gave to this community and how well she was respected,” he said. “She was a very humble person. I know she would have taken the news with great humility and pride. She would have considered this an honor.”
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