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For the week of February 28 through March 6, 2001

Chamber announces award recipients

Harlig named Citizen of the Year

Express Staff Writer

Each year, the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors selects Wood River Valley residents and businesses who have made "significant, positive contributions" to the community and recognizes them at a community awards banquet.

Sturtevants, owned by Santa, was named Business of the Year by the Ketchum-Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce. Express photo by Willy Cook

"It’s one of the most difficult, but rewarding, jobs that the chamber board has," chamber executive director Carol Waller said.

Out of 24 nominations submitted by area residents in the 12past month, the chamber board voted on six final community award recipients: Citizen of the Year, Len Harlig; Youth Citizen of the Year, Jessica Jaskowski; Business of the Year, Sturtevants; Arts Advocate of the Year, Will Caldwell; Youth Advocate of the Year, Heather Thompson; and Chamber Volunteer of the Year, Phil Dolberg.

The winners will be recognized at the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber 2000 Annual Community Awards Night on Wednesday, March 28, at the River Run lodge. The public is invited, and seating is limited. To order tickets, at $35 per person, contact Nestor Trujillo at 725-2103.


Citizen of the Year

Len Harlig is a long-time resident of the Wood River Valley and has served the community in a number of different capacities, most recently as a Blaine County commissioner.

One of his nominations stated that "it would be difficult to find someone with more qualifications for the Citizen of the Year award than Len Harlig. His actions and activities have benefited an enormous number of people in our valley, and his distinguished career has spanned 16 years, a record of public service that is unparalleled."

"What made a happy, retired businessman plunge into public service with 80 to 100 hour work weeks?" the author of the nomination asked. "Initially, it was a desire to give something back to his adopted community, and then, as he says, he made the mistake of ‘getting interested.’"

Harlig’s interests have led him to work on many boards and committees addressing issues such as scenic corridor protection, establishing the Blaine County Housing Authority, establishing a paramedic program, preventing commercial sprawl in the county and helping to bring St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center to the Wood River Valley.

"It feels wonderful," Harlig said. "I’m glad to join that pantheon of citizens who have received the award previously."


Youth Citizen of the Year

Jessica Jaskowski, 14, is a sophomore at Wood River High School, a straight A student and a dedicated teenage community volunteer.

Jaskowski volunteered four days a week at the Sagebrush Arena therapy center, helping show handicapped people how to enjoy horses and riding. In 1999, she worked at the Wood River Animal Shelter as a volunteer.

"She is a very dedicated and is an excellent example of a teenager who takes pride in giving back to her community," one of her nominations states.


Business of the Year

Sturtevants is an institution in the Wood River Valley, and has been in business for over 50 years. According to a chamber press release, in that time, it has expanded from one store to four while retaining a consistent commitment to public service.

"Sturtevants helps the local community in a number of ways: They continue to give generously to over a dozen local organizations, from the Sun Valley Junior Hockey and the Hailey Ice Rink to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. They provide special discounts to the junior skiers and [ski and] snowboard instructors, and have provided the opportunity for disabled kids to ski or snowboard," according to one of the business’ nominations.

"Sturtevants also provides special incentives to get their employees out enjoying the outdoors and encourages them to give back to the community by volunteering for numerous community events, including the Boulder Mountain Tour and the [Sun Valley] Wine Auction, and by donating time to give free fly fishing, roller blade and skate skiing clinics for locals and visitors."

Rob Santa, Sturtevants owner, said his staff are the "people who make the difference."

"We’re very gratified," he said. "I hope it reflects the effort we try to put out."

He said giving back to the community is simply part of living in a small community.

"I think any effort put out on behalf of the community, the benefits are seen immediately."


Arts Advocate of the Year

Will Caldwell is a 30-year resident of Ketchum, a professional artist and has supported the arts for many decades.

Caldwell’s most recent arts-related community contributions include his service as chairman of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce’s Ketch ‘em Alive Tonight! summer concert series; his volunteer service on the arts committee for the new St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center, which filled the new hospital with 250 artworks; his planning and participation in the first annual Ketchum Summer Arts Festival; and his drum playing with percussion circles for special programs and performances with local performing arts groups.

"I think my motivation now is doing something for the young people," Caldwell said. "It’s clear that we adults need to exert ourselves somehow for creating ways for the kids to learn and grow. I sense there’s room for expansion for some of the cultural opportunities."

From one of his nominations:

"Ketch’em Alive Tonight! 2000 was a big success, drawing good crowds, young and old, and people enjoyed the new venue in Forest Service Park. Will plans to work again on making the event another success in 2001."


Youth Advocate of the Year

Heather Thompson, who works in the development department at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center, has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to the Wood River Valley’s youth, most recently by working to make the teen coffee house, Romancing the Bean, a success.

"Heather, also known as the Queen Bean, helped create Romancing the Bean, a coffeehouse for teens on Friday nights in Hailey," one of her nominations states. "Heather created the logo [and] posters and sought donations for the coffeehouse and then volunteered her time every Friday night from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. for nearly a year to make the coffeehouse happen, providing a place for over 50 high school teens to socialize.

"She is an incredible example of what one person can do to make a difference to youth in our community."


Chamber Volunteer of the Year

Phil Dolberg has been an active chamber volunteer for over 10 years, contributing many hours in his role as a member of the Chamber Ambassadors, and volunteering his time and talents for many community events, including working on the Wagon Days picnic for nearly a decade.

Dolberg moved to Sun Valley 12 years ago with his wife, Mary, and he works for Houston Lumber. Phil can always be counted on to help out when needed, and he said he enjoys volunteering because meeting new people and visitors gives him great satisfaction.

Express photos by David Seelig

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