Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Chamber announces Community Awards winners

Housing advocate Helzel takes top honors

The Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau, along with event sponsors First Bank of Idaho and Sun Valley Co., announced this week the winners of the 2006 Community Awards. The winners will be honored at the annual Community Awards Dinner, set for Friday, April 14, at 7 p.m. in the River Run Lodge, near Ketchum.

The dinner will include music by Cheryl Morrell and Bruce Innes. Reservations can be made by calling Angela Shetler at 725-2103.

The winners are:

· Citizen of the Year: Rebekah Helzel

Helzel won top honors "for her unselfish and tireless efforts at providing affordable housing for the work force," the Chamber said. "She has put her own money to initiate this cause and has been crucial in helping educate others and increase awareness in the Wood River Valley of this issue."

· Business of the Year: The Gold Mine

The Gold Mine thrift store, in Ketchum, was chosen "for the continuous work that they have done for the past 50 years. A full-service thrift shop that fully funds The Community Library entirely by donations and proceeds."

· Youth Citizen of the Year: Anneka Preston

Preston was recognized "for her involvement in many organizations throughout the valley and Wood River High School, such as the YAK! (Youth Adult Konnections), Blaine County Teen Advisory Council, Blaine County Recreation District, the Footlight Dance Centre, National Honor Society, American Red Cross, and as an Adaptive Sports summer camp volunteer.

· Youth Advocate of the Year: Rick Kapala

Kapala was awarded "for his dedication to many kids in the Wood River Valley through the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation cross-country program. His relentless dedication to our youth through this program has been wonderful, including the devotion and time committed during the winter and summer training trips."

· Environmental Advocate of the Year: Scott Runkel

The Chamber selected Runkel "for his constant commitment to the environment as a teacher and volunteer who goes above and beyond with his students. He actively seeks ways to 'walk the talk' and has the ability to really make a difference with various programs, including a car that runs on recycled cooking oil, and a salmon reclamation project."

· Arts Advocate of the Year: Dick Brown

Brown was singled out "for his unselfish volunteer work through music as a special mentor and leader for many kids and adults throughout the valley. He is always ready to help serve the arts community with his expertise and musical artistic talent."

· Non-Profit Organization of the Year: ARCH

The Chamber chose Advocates for Real Community Housing as Organization of the Year "for its activities to create and preserve housing opportunities and home ownership for working people in Blaine County. A community that values its work force serves to preserve the economic strength and health of the community. Misconceptions, outdated information and negative stereotypes make opposition to affordable housing difficult and costly to overcome. Educating residents and mobilizing public support is critical to creating housing opportunities and preserving our community."

· SVKCVB Volunteer of the Year: Jan Super

Super won this award "for her continuous volunteer service on various CVB committees, including the Ambassadors' Council, Community Awards Night, and Wagon Days, in which she has passionately spent hundreds of hours organizing and training the judging committee for the annual parade."

· Ambassador of the Year: Cheri Dill-Schenker

Dill-Schenker was recognized "for her dedication to the CVB Ambassadors program for the past three years. She was selected as the Ambassador of the Year due to her commitment to recruitment and retention of CVB members and also serves on the Spring Prom committee, helping to establish this as a new tradition."

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