This year, CML introduced the Municipal Hero Award program to recognize individuals who help to build strong cities and towns in Colorado. Open to municipal employees, citizens, and volunteers, this award acknowledges those whose contributions made significant, positive impacts in their communities in the past year.
When we introduced this contest, we weren’t sure of the response we would get. We received 13 incredible nominations, all of whom were deserving of winning this award.
This year's winners (pictured from left to right with Gov. John Hickenlooper) are Jeff and Kathleen Baumgardner from the City of Fort Collins, Julie Kolar from the Town of Basalt, and Officer Rick Redmond from the City of Littleton.
Let me share with you a bit of what makes these individuals so amazing.
Jeff and Kathleen were nominated by Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry. They started FoCo (Feeding Our Community Ourselves) Café in 2014, and already have served nearly 6,000 meals. The café operates under the principle that every member of the community deserves to eat good nutritional food regardless of their ability to pay. Restaurant patrons set their own prices for meals; those unable to pay with money volunteer their time and talents. More than 450 volunteers have logged more than 2,000 hours of service.
Nominated by Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon, Julie Kolar was heavily engaged in the “Our Town” planning effort in 2014, served as the unofficial spokesperson for the Downtown Area Advisory Committee, and helped the Town of Basalt lobby for and secure funding from the Colorado Department of Transportation for an underpass of Highway 82. The Town recognized her as its 2014 Citizen of the Year.
Finally, Littleton Police Officer Rick Redmond was nominated by Kelli Narde, Littleton public information officer. In December 2014, Officer Redmond was dispatched to a pharmacy to assist a 10-year old child who was not breathing. The child had been just released from the hospital for a cold and croup, but returned to the hospital after collapsing at the pharmacy. The child passed away the next day, Christmas Eve. Officer Redmond subsequently discovered that the boy’s family needed help with funeral expenses and donated more than $3,200 of his own money so the family could have a proper service.
These people (her at lunch with their nominators) truly make their cities and towns – and our state – an amazing place to live.
I had the pleasure of meeting these four heroes during the annual CML conference that was held last week, and they were inspirational in their love of their communities.
The other outstanding nominees were:
- Carolyn Brigham, Boulder volunteer, and Joel Koenig, Boulder volunteer, both nominated by Jenelle Freeston, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks volunteer services coordinator
- Julie Van Domelen, former Lyons mayor, nominated by LaVern Johnson, Lyons town trustee
- Maggie Cox, Frisco citizen, and Tim Mack, Frisco public works director, both nominated by Bill Efting, Frisco town manager
- Pauline York, Edgewater citizen, nominated by Bonnie McNulty, Edgewater mayor, and HJ Stalf, Edgewater city manager
- Ron Shaver, Fort Morgan mayor pro tem, nominated by Terry McAlister, Fort Morgan mayor
- Jack Hidahl, former Lone Tree city manager, nominated by Lone Tree City Council
- Lynette White, Bennett clerk, nominated by Trish Stiles, Bennett administrator
- Greg Clifton, Telluride town manager, nominated by Telluride Town Board
These winners and nominees will also be recognized during Colorado Cities & Towns Week, Sept. 14–20.
If you have a hero in your community, consider nominating them for an award. Information will be available later this year.
I know there are heroes in your city or town. I would love to hear about them!