Community Award Winners Announced at Chamber Annual Gala

The evening of January 20 at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Gala was filled with new faces, long time residents, and lots of laughter brought to us by the Creede Repertory Theatre. Along with the performance, the evening culminated with the announcement of the Chamber’s new board members and the annual Community Awards. The new board members coming on for a three-year term are: Jim Hayes with The Hub, Jesse Hensle with Pagosa Springs Medical Center and Mary Hunt with US Health Advisors.

The 2017 Community Award winners were as follows:

The Citizen of the Year award went to long time residents and ranchers John and Jean Taylor. Creating a legacy of stewardship to the land, natural resources and Pagosa’s history, the Taylors have been involved in everything from planning commission and County Commissioner in Hinsdale County to sitting on numerous water conservancy boards locally, regionally and statewide along with numerous other non-profit contributions. They were members of the local 4-H group its first year in Archuleta County as well as the building committee for the Methodist Church back in the 1960s. So many of the groups or activities that we take for granted now were initially mentored by John & Jean Taylor.

Photos courtesy Jeff Laydon/Pagosa Photography

The other Citizen of the Year nominee was Kimberlie Fleming Hamilton for her philanthropic contributions to the community.

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Karin Daniels also for her wide-reaching volunteer efforts including the Veterans Memorial Park where she is the grant writer, event coordinator and person to get things done. Karin is also involved in the Pagosa Center for the Arts, GECKO, PROST, San Juan Basin Health, Seeds of Learning, Search & Rescue, the Empty Bowl Program and many more organizations as a worker bee or sponsor. Her other volunteer passion outside the community includes involvement with the 10th Mountain Division of which her father was a veteran.

Other Volunteer of the Year nominees also included Jason Cox, Dennis Schick, Lee Voorhies, Gloria Bissmeyer and the Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District Volunteers.

The Non-Profit of the Year winner was Loaves & Fishes. Growing from a vision of 4 women who saw a need to feed people in Pagosa to serving over 14,000 meals a year, this group also collaborates with over 25 other organizations to provide meals to people on Thursdays at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall on Lewis St. as well as Meals on Wheels that day. Other Non-Profit organizations nominated were THRIVE, DUST 2 and the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership.

The Small Business of the Year winner was the relatively new Pagosa Mountain Sports located on Hwy 160. This business, owned by 4 partners have created numerous avenues to expand cycling opportunities into Pagosa collaborating to install single track trails, being coaches for the new Youth Cycling Team, hosting fundraisers, creating special events for Colorado’s Bike to Work month as well as community events such as Bike Nights for all skill levels. The other Small Business nominee was Raymond Rent-a-Nerd with owner Kurt Raymond.

The Pagosa Pride award is given to those businesses that have made a significant improvement to the outside esthetics of their building or property. The winner this year was James Perry who has made significant improvements to the property formerly known as The Corner Store property on the corner of Highway 160 and Piedra Rd. Gas tanks were removed and environmental mitigation completed. The exterior of three buildings were renovated and he then renovated two buildings inside — Fed Ex and Old West Spirits — and owner of Feather Your Nest, Jamie Miller is renovating the inside of the other building. The other Pagosa Pride nominee was The SUN Publishing Company for the façade work on their new building on Lewis St.

A new award this year was the Revitalization Award. This award is given to an entrepreneur that took an vacant, stressed or abandoned building and converted it into a viable business location. This award went to the owners of Motel SOCO, Colin and Autumn Gilbertson with manager Chris Jarc accepting the award. Motel SOCO renovated the former Sky View Motel taking the guest rooms down to the studs, replacing the septic system, renovating the office, reception area, installing solar panels and many more improvements creating a beehive of activity at the property. These renovations turned this blighted property into a vibrant new lodging facility. Other nominees for this award were Belvedere Art Studio and Boulder Coffee Café.

On behalf of the community, the Chamber appreciates all the time, talent and fiscal commitment that so many businesses, organizations and individuals pour into this community. Please congratulate the nominees and the winners for their contributions and consider nominating someone next year!


Mary Jo Coulehan

Mary Jo Coulehan is Executive Director of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, and also serves on a number of local and state boards.