county cares

Commissioner Patti Clapper, center, presents the outstanding team award to members of the Pitkin County Public Safety Council for their response to the Lake Christine Fire, as part of the Pitkin County Cares award ceremony last week.

Nine Roaring Fork Valley residents and one public agency were honored for their work in the community by Pitkin County commissioners last week, with the presentation of this year’s Pitkin County Cares awards.

The awards ceremony, dubbed by some commissioners as the “best meeting of the year,” was a celebration of good works and positivity. The awards are now in their 18th year. Nominations come from the public to recognize individuals and groups for outstanding service, leadership and civic involvement.

The awards come in multiple categories, including the Greg Mace award for outstanding volunteerism and awards recognizing seniors, teamwork, conservation, being a good Samaritan, hospitality, environment, youth, a one-time event and rising stars. The 2018 recipients are as follows. Online links go to official proclamations read at the Dec. 19 Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Greg Mace Award: Charlie Hopton: Founding member of Mountain Rescue Aspen, Buddy Program mentor, Korean War veteran, president of the Western Slope Veterans Coalition, and member of the Independence Pass Foundation and Wilderness Workshop.

Conservationist of the Year Award:  George Stranahan: For his generosity and vision in protecting open space by donating significant conservation easements on his Flying Dog Ranch properties in Woody Creek and Prince Creek.

Outstanding Team Award: Pitkin County Public Safety Council: For its immediate response to and initial attack on the fast-moving Lake Christine fire in Basalt. Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson, in accepting the award, credited the strength of relationships between public safety agencies up and down the valley with the effectiveness of the response to the fire.

Exceptional One-Time Event Award: Laura Riegel: For organizing the thank-you-to-firefighters event in Basalt that went viral with hundreds of thankful homeowners in attendance.

Children/Youth Award: Susan Patterson: For being a mentor to a little buddy in the Aspen Buddy program for nearly 10 years and creating an invaluable relationship with her little buddy and her buddy’s entire family.

Seniors Award: Mimi Schlumberger: For her long-time participation and leadership on the Pitkin County Seniors Independent group which is a major fundraising arm of Pitkin County Senior Services.

Good Samaritan Award: Joe High: For his contribution to veterans, coaching high school athletes, volunteering and the Aspen Homeless Shelter and for all varieties of assistance to local senior citizens.

Hospitality Award: Dr. Bernarr Johnson: For his gracious welcoming of noisy helicopters landing and taking off from his Crystal River property during the reconstruction of Pitkin County’s Elephant Mountain telecommunications site.

Environment Award: Trey Barnes: For his hard work and enthusiasm as a Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteer leading volunteer trail work teams and assisting RFOV with marketing and publications.

Rising Star Award: Catherine Vazquez: For her contributions to the Peace Garden at Basalt High School, being a member of the National Honor Society and her school volunteerism including president of the student council and vice president of the women’s chorus.