Community Alliance honors New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley |

Community Alliance honors New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley

Nicole Inglis

— About 50 residents gathered at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on Saturday to honor those who are taking the reins in moving Steamboat toward a sustainable future.

The fifth annual New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley event featured the marquee award for a New Pioneer, a special Champion of Community award and a buffet featuring locally grown foods provided by Fireside Catering.

A presentation after dinner recognized the efforts of three nominees for the 2010 New Pioneers of the Yampa Valley award.

Tim Winter, Routt County's facilities and purchasing manager; John Randolph, of Randolph Construction; and Chad and Christina Yeager, of Firefly Mountain Produce, were honored with slideshow presentations of their recent projects and achievements.

But it was Firefly Mountain Produce, the seasonal, community-supported agriculture business, that ultimately took home the award.

Nancy Kramer, a local gardener and friend of the Yeagers, said she is proud of what the couple has accomplished since they began the business in 2006.

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"Christina and Chad have become good friends, and I embrace what they've done and brought to this community," Kramer said. "They're new leaders in agriculture in the valley, venturing away from traditional jobs to make Firefly a sustainable business. And they really like to get their hands dirty,"

After the presentation, the Yeagers said they had not expected to win the award, having been nominated alongside other

innovative minds such as Randolph and Winter.

"There's so much talent in this town with people doing interesting and innovative things across the county," Christina Yeager said. "It's just neat to be recognized."

Anderson a 'Champion'

As new sustainable businesses like Firefly take root and new relationships are forged, the county also has lost an important figure in sustainability.

Towny Anderson, who moved to Leadville in fall to work with the historic preservation program there, was honored with the first Champion of Community Award.

Steve Aigner, a Community Alliance board member, said the award was designed specifically for the broad impact of Anderson in his 12 years in Steamboat Springs as a historical and cultural preservation advocate.

"Towny's contributed both to economic and ecological sustainability," Aigner said. "And the cultural and community sustainability of not only Steamboat, but the Yampa Valley. That's what we want to draw your attention to."

"I can't think of anything more important in championing a community than the ability to bridge ties across differences."

Mike Roberts told the crowd about Anderson's unwavering dedication to his preservation projects and his work with Historic Routt County, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and Mainstreet Steamboat Springs.

"Towny has no affiliation except to what he believes in his heart and mind," Roberts said.

After a long, standing ovation, Anderson addressed the crowd about receiving the honor.

"Thank you everybody, for honoring me this way," he said. "I've never felt more humbled in my life. Truly, I say that from the bottom of my heart."

After the ceremony, he said that he would miss Steamboat for the relationships, friends and the common passion for community.

"There's this creative tension in a resort community that's very compelling," he said.

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