Kremmling foundation names Perry Handyside ‘Citizen of the Year’
Perry Handyside, the ranch manager for Blue Valley Ranch, is being honored as the Citizen of the Year at the 10th annual banquet hosted on Saturday, April 19, by the West Grand Community Educational Foundation.
Since moving to Kremmling in 1994 to take over the management of Blue Valley Ranch, Handyside has been a leader in community involvement. In addition to directing resources and manpower to help with various projects around the community, Handyside has personally gotten involved as a two-term school board member, a 4-H leader, the first president of the West Grand Community Educational Foundation and as the chairman of Forward Motion, a community recreational initiative.
A common theme in the involvement of Handyside and Blue Valley Ranch is the support of education.
“In a large, diverse, competitive society such as ours,” Handyside said, “education, particularly public education, is the great equalizer. In spite of all of our differences, a good education can level the playing field and give every individual, every child, the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. It is then the responsibility of that individual, of that child, to work hard and make the most of that opportunity.”
Under the direction of Handyside, Blue Valley Ranch, has provided numerous employment opportunities for Kremmling residents. In addition to fund-raising activities for clubs and athletic teams, the ranch has employed approximately 100 high school students over the years to help with activities related to ranching, landscaping, natural resources and guest services.
Blue Valley Ranch has also provided a number of internships for Colorado students in the areas of wildlife management and agriculture production. The ranch provides scholarships to as many as 11 local graduating seniors to further their education. The internships and scholarships dovetail nicely with the ranch’s mission of wildlife conservation and agriculture production.
Handyside said he sees a healthy community as one in which the people support and maintain the institutions like the school system, town and county government and emergency services like the police and fire departments.
“I believe in a positive attitude, a feeling that as a team, we can accomplish anything,” Handyside said. “It is our civic duty to participate and make our community better and healthier.”
It is Handyside’s belief that by supporting the educational system of a community, an individual or group can support the whole spectrum of the community.
“My mother always told me, ‘If you want to get a good job, get a good education.’ I believe that rule still applies,” he added.
Handyside grew up on a farm in Minnesota. When it came time to choose a career, he decided his agriculture background would serve him well in a career in resource management. He started his degree in business administration at Bemidji State University in Northern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Phoenix with a degree in management while starting his family and managing a ranch in rural New Mexico.
In addition to managing a wilderness outfitting business in Montana and Yellowstone National Park, Handyside has been the manager of ranches in Montana, New Mexico and Colorado.
Perry and his wife Susan have raised four sons, Sage, Prairie, Parker and Sky. The older three have either graduated from college or are pursuing their degrees. The youngest, Sky, is a junior at West Grand High School.
“I am truly honored by this award,” Handyside said. “I believe education is a lifelong exercise program that contributes to good mental and physical health.”
The award is particularly gratifying to Handyside because it comes from an organization that reflects the values of community support and education which are embodied by the West Grand Community Educational Foundation.
“Citizens should address the needs of their local community first. The supporters of the West Grand Community Educational Foundation work hard, and spend all of their contributions right here in our community,” Handyside said. “I will bet they don’t spend a dime for a cup of coffee on themselves. If I had a million dollars to give, they would get every penny.”
Tickets are now on sale for the West Grand Community Educational Foundation’s 10th Annual Banquet. Tickets are $30 per person, which includes dinner and a show. To purchase tickets, call 970-724-3217. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 19.
In addition to dinner and the presentation of the Citizen of the Year Award to Handyside, the evening will include a performance by the Chicken Lips comedy show. Chicken Lips has been creating comedy and music magic in Denver since 1980. Their cast of three has over 50 years of experience between them. The style of Chicken Lips has the same spontaneous energy and mayhem as the popular TV show, “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”
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A COVID-19 outbreak at East Grand Middle School has led to online learning for the entire sixth-grade class.