Larry Kovacic and Patti Arthur were honored as man and woman of the year at last Saturday's annual Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet, held at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds.
Kovacic is a retiree who moved to Salida and dedicates his time to such projects as the Salida Museum, Bikes for Kids, and Salida Mountain Trails. During acceptance, Kovocic said that he doesn't do anything without the help of others, and he thanked the Salida Elks Lodge, Salida Trails, and the Salida Museum Association for their help.
Arthur is a former airline pilot and tax attorney who has served on numerous charity and community boards and had created and assisted numerous local and national nonprofit groups.
The Cornerstone award for long-term service and support to the community went to Stew Brown, a volunteer at the chamber of commerce for almost 20 years. Brown is a retired YMCA camp director, helps with the annual Christmas Mountain display, and was instrumental in bringing Brett Haydin to Salida to serve as director of the Chaffee County Boys and Girls Clubs. During his acceptance, Brown called Salida a "town of volunteers". He said that there are so many cornerstones in Salida that you can't walk down the street without tripping over one.
Other awards on the evening went to Monarch Mountain, who received the 2012 Business of the Year award, which honors members of the community and groups for their contributions. The Wanted Alive, not Dead award went to Rob and Donna Prescott, owners of Young Colors Children's Products. The Wanted Alive, Not Dead award honors a business an organization that "goes above and beyond the call of duty to promote and support Salida during the past year." Young Colors Children's Products are sold locally at the retail business on F Street, and are available at outlets in most states. Also recognized Saturday night was Debbie Eggleston, who won the From The Heart Award, which recognized outstanding community members who have the spirit of generousity and volunteerism. Eggleston has been a nurse and clinical instructor for 35 years, most of them in Salida.
The theme of the banquest was Denim and Diamonds, and the evening concluded with the awarding of silent auction items and dancing to the Alan and Martin Band. Dean Johnson served as master of ceremonies.