Chamber recognizes 5 for annual awards
Wednesday night was the first time since 2019 that Moffat County’s State of the Community was held in person, and the excitement to be celebrating together was noticeable.
“We are all here tonight because we want to make things better in the community,” said Craig Chamber of Commerce Director Jennifer Holloway in the opening address.
The event is a time to highlight progress made by the community over the past year, as well as a chance to recognize and honor the people and organizations who are responsible for driving the progress.
“My ask for tonight is that, as we listen to everyone talk about the projects happening to improve our community, we think of how we can help with those projects.” Holloway said.
Sasha Nelson, a newly elected Chamber board member, gave the Chamber update. Nelson has deep roots with the Chamber, pointing out that her first job was as tour guide for the Marcia Car, and she spoke brightly about the organization’s present and future.
“The state of the Chamber, in one word, is inspiring,” Nelson said.
Even through pandemic challenges, the Chamber increased membership renewals, increased new memberships, expanded the social media footprint, and utilized member testimonials to better tell the story of the community.
“In 2021, the Chamber enhanced and promoted the Yampa Building as a collaborative economic and community development facility by establishing a work environment with the city of Craig to create a sustainability financial plan,” Nelson said.
The Chamber is in better financial shape than ever before, Nelson said, but achieving true sustainability requires community stewardship. Nelson called to action for current supporters to maintain or increase support, encouraged new supporters to start giving, and welcomed those who can’t give financially to volunteer.
Nelson closed by inviting the community to join together in recognizing those nominated and selected for awards this year.
“They are leading the charge to change,” Nelson said. “Change is challenging. It’s frightening. It’s also an opportunity for transformation.”
BEST Customer Service Award
Yampa Valley Bank was selected for the BEST Customer Service Award for their outstanding service aligning with the Beyond Excellence Service Training (BEST) concept. Fellow nominees for the award — Cool Water Grille and Moffat Mercantile — also joined in the celebration.
Tammy Kearnes, senior teller at the bank, accepted the award on behalf of her employer.
“This is a company that believes in community, believes in the people of this valley and strives to make it the best place it can be,” said Kirstie McPherson, who presented the award in her capacity as a Chamber board member.
Change Maker Award
McPherson was the next community member to be honored. Chris Nichols, also a Chamber board member, presented McPherson with the 2022 Change Maker Award.
Nichols said this is an exciting award to be given to McPherson, who he said was, “a person who knows that one step in economic development is a vibrant and growing downtown.”
In addition to serving on the Chamber Board, McPherson is the Economic and Community Development Coordinator for Just Transition Colorado, owner of The Find and 518 Wine and Whiskey Bar, and owner of four downtown properties including a recently added AirBnB. She also works with downtown business groups on revitalization projects.
Chamber Special Recognition Award
The Yampa Valley Community Foundation (YVCF) was next up among honorees.
“I’ll be honest it was a pretty easy pick.” said Holloway, who presented the Special Recognition Award to the organization. “They supported the Yampa Building right from the get go, including financial support to almost every organization inside the building. They are consistently in every meeting that there is community engagement and are connecting the United Ways between our towns. They are really inspiring.”
Corey Peck, a YVCF board member, accepted the award alongside Helen Beall, YVCF community impact manager, and Tim Wohlgenant, YVCF executive director.
“He has this heart, and he communicates that heart in a way that I’ve never seen happen in a room. And it’s truly inspiring,” Holloway said, speaking specifically of Wohlgenant.
Business of the Year
Samantha Yager, Chamber grants manager, presented the Business of the Year Award to Prodigal Son’s Coffee House & Eatery.
Owners Adam and Valerie Bolton were present to receive the award for their family-owned and family-operated downtown coffee house.
Yager said that Prodigal Son’s was chosen for this award for the very distinct atmosphere they have created, which she said leaves guests with a lasting feeling of community and belonging.
Other nominees for Business of the Year included; Mountain Man Taxidermy, Yampa Valley Bank, The Sizzling Pickle Eatery & Lounge, and Justin Stokes – State Farm.
United Way Volunteer of the Year
The final award was for Volunteer of the Year. It was received by Kristin Corriveau.
“Our community thrives on people, people who give their time and energy to important causes.” said Kristen Olson, Moffat County United Way Director, who presented the award “While some individuals are paid to do important work, it takes someone truly remarkable to do it through volunteering.”
Corriveau was described as kind, helpful, selfless and cheerful by those who have worked with her. Her volunteer projects include Northwest Colorado Health and Hospice Program, Love INC., Routt County 4-H, and the Craig Chamber of Commerce.
Olson said that Corriveau’s diverse background and skill set benefits all of her volunteer endeavors, and also noted that all of the work is done with a smile.
“Folks who have worked closely with this special volunteer noted her exceptional impact, not only on the lives of organizations, but also on the lives of people with whom she has made a difference.” Olson said.
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