Grand Lake Rotarians name Marv Fischer Citizen of the Year |

Grand Lake Rotarians name Marv Fischer Citizen of the Year

Tonya Bina
Grand County, Colorado

Grand Lake’s first building inspector and former Grand County building official Marv Fischer is Grand Lake Rotary’s Citizen of the Year.

Upon receiving his award Saturday during a dinner ceremony at the Daven Haven Lodge in Grand Lake, Fischer acknowledged his daughter, son, female companion, brother and sister-in-law in the audience. Fischer credited others for giving him the guidance to accomplish what he has through the years.

“You know, there’s been some awful nice things said about me here tonight,” a modest Fischer said. “I want to say, early in my business career, I learned a very important lesson. And that lesson I learned was: To know what I don’t know … The second lesson I learned was, to surround yourself with people who know what you don’t know because they make you look good. There’s a lot of people who deserve this award along with me because they made me look good.”

With 23.5 years as the county’s building official prior to retirement, 32 years involvement with Grand Lake Fire ” either as an active volunteer, as a longtime chief, or on the board ” 16 years on Grand Lake’s planning commission (in his 10th year as chairman), an active member of the Trinity Church of the Pines since the early 1960s, and marriage to his late wife Jean just shy of 50 years, it’s a sure bet that when Fischer gets involved with something, he’s in it for the long haul.

Few men have served their community as much, friends testified.

Calling Fischer “Mr. Respect,” Glenn Harrington said that when Fischer moved to Grand Lake in 1958, “It was a turning point for the town to have this man serving our town and the county for half a century.”

He moved to Grand Lake from Littleton when his family purchased the former Lake Kove Resort on Shadow Mountain Reservoir, which he owned and operated for 17 years.

During that time, Fischer had a side construction business using skills he’d learned from his father and business sense learned from his brother.

One of Fischer’s projects was the former Chuckhole Cafe building, now Grand Pizza on Grand Avenue.

During Grand Lake’s economically challenged years, a word that describes Fischer, a former Army man, was resourceful.

Fischer manufactured ice and started a commercial enterprise that boasted “High Altitude Slow-Melting Ice.”

Sold years ago, the commercial ice company endures in Grand County.

While attempting to boost winter business at Lake Kove, Fischer, a town chamber member at the time, started ice golfing tournaments, attracted dog-sled races and hosted car races on the ice of Shadow Mountain Reservoir. Fischer also organized the first Winter Carnival in Grand Lake.

“We tried to come up with ideas to survive the winters up here,” Fischer said.

Fischer and friend Chris Lorenz of Grand Lake were instrumental in cleaning up and regulating town landfills. Upon doing so, they started the Grand County Trash Company, which existed for more than a decade before it was sold to Waste Management.

And recycling in Grand County sprouted under the direction of Marv and Jean Fischer. Their fledgling operation began near Grand Lake’s town shop with a pick-up truck for hauling away recyclables, the first recycling facility in the county.

Grand Lake Fire District Chief and Grand Lake Trustee Tom Weydert credits Fischer for laying the groundwork for a nationally recognized volunteer fire department. Grand Lake Fire has come a long way from “Grand Lake’s first fire truck: A pick-up truck with a garden hose,” Weydert said.

Grand Lake’s department was “sparse” many years ago in Fischer’s view. He and fellow Grand Laker Mac Ruske “worked hard to get it going,” he said.

They implemented training and improved firefighter equipment. More than three decades later, Fischer retired from the board of directors after seeing two of his primary goals achieved: A new fire station had been built in Grand Lake, and the station’s equipment and readiness improved ISO ratings to “get everyone’s insurance reduced.”

Fischer was also instrumental in making a three-acre plot deeded to his Grand Lake church, Trinity Church of the Pines, “forever green space,” according to friend and fellow parishioner Marvin Aiken.

Alluding to an oxygen tank that has aided Fischer’s breathing ever since his lungs were damaged three years ago during major back surgery, Aiken said, “He’s a great friend and I can only say, Lord, bless Marv and surround his head with the best oxygen in the world.”

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail

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