Engels, Vance remind us of what it means to be member of the community
Last week, we ran the stories of three deserving Grand County residents who were recognized by the Winter Park/Fraser Chamber of Commerce for their contributions to this community ” Karen Vance and Joy and George Engel.
Karen Vance was given the Citizen of the Year award for her work to promote and improve the Fraser Valley through her art. Her donated paintings are a staple of many area fundraisers.
The Chamber gave Vance her award on a Friday night at Devil’s Thumb. Standing next to her was a line of people who received the award in previous years.
Each in their turn had been recognized for philanthropic donations and for contributions of time and vision. There was a warmth coming from that gathering of people. They cared about this place and they spent much of their personal and professional lives working to make it a better place to live.
The same night that Vance was recognized, the Chamber gave out the first annual Pioneer Award to Joy and George Engel.
The Engels were recognized for their work in building the foundation for the Fraser Valley community. When George Engel arrived in the area in 1945 and Joyce arrived in 1951, Winter Park was known as Hideaway Park and the town was just a filling station, a restaurant and a couple of bars.
They saw how much more there could be and spent their years building programs for the community.
Catherine Ross, executive director for the Winter Park/Fraser Chamber, said the community is in debt to the Engels.
“It seems to me like they pretty much started everything,” she said. “And they continue to have a vision for the community. It’s because of that vision that we’re here and as successful as we are.”
We would like to thank Vance and the Engels for giving so much. And we thank the Chamber for holding them up for us as inspirations and reminders of what it means to be a true member of a community.
It’s so easy to close yourself off into the small corner of your life ” cloistering yourself between work and home.
But this community is only as great as the people in it and the amount of time and energy those people are willing to give.
As 2007 winds to a close, we should each promise to make this a better place in 2008.
If you don’t have money to give, give time. If you are new to the community, what better way to become a part of the fabric of your new environment than to share your talents?
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