O’Leary, Lahrman named Pioneer, Citizen of the Year
November 16, 2017
The Winter Park & Fraser Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2017 Pioneer Award and the 2017 Citizen of the Year at the Chamber Annual Dinner on Nov. 10.
Hal O'Leary, founder of the National Ski Center for the Disabled (NSCD), was named Pioneer of the Year, while Winter Park Mayor Jimmy Lahrman was named Citizen of the Year.
The Pioneer Award is given perennially to a person who has dedicated their life and made a significant impact over several decades to help transform the community. The Citizen of the Year is nominated by a panel of the past five award winners, who identify an individual who has gone above and beyond in helping to better the community over the last year.
O'Leary is a Canadian-born ski instructor who helped guide the evolution of the NSCD from a small group of amputees from The Children's Hospital in Denver, to one of the largest outdoor therapeutic recreation and adaptive sports organizations in the world.
Since the humble rise of the NSCD in 1970, O'Leary has been named one of the "best 100 things to happen to skiing" by Ski Magazine, and has helped establish programs for disabled athletes on four continents. O'Learly also coached on two Paralympic teams, and was awarded the Order of Canada, the nations highest honor for recognizing lifetime achievements.
Today Hal O'Leary acts as the president and treasurer of the Shining Stars Foundation, a local organization that provides recreational and social programs for children living with life threatening illnesses.
Lahrman has been on the Town Council of Winter Park for over 12 years, and has been serving as the town's mayor for the past four years. Lahrman is often credited as one of the visionaries in creating a vibrant downtown Winter Park.
In his time as an elected official Lahrman has been essential in the creation of many major town projects, including the stage at Hideaway Park, the Lift transit system and the upcoming opening of the Fireside Market and Eatery grocery store. Under his tutelage the town recently celebrated the opening of the Sitmark Apartments, as well as instituted the Winter Park Housing Assistance Fund in association with Winter Park Resort and the Grand Foundation.