Fifty Crawford residents, volunteers, and business owners met over an abundant potluck spread at Crawford's Town Hall on Saturday, Feb. 2. This yearly event is organized by the Crawford Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize noteworthy citizens who contribute to Crawford and Delta County at large. The gathering brings long-time residents and new arrivals together to acknowledge their close-knit community. The chamber bestows awards to local businesses, nonprofits, and volunteers.
Collenette Vervloet, president of the Crawford Chamber of Commerce, opened the meeting with a plea for volunteers for the upcoming Pioneer Days. She provided a list with a number of specific duties required to attend to the details that make Pioneer Days possible. She stressed that, although the list is long, many of the jobs do not require long hours of commitment. She encouraged any and all takers to help realize the event. She also noted that donations were needed to supply fireworks for the weekend. Vervloet also mentioned the drive by the Crawford Fire Auxiliary to provide a swamp cooler for Town Hall by summer. The Friends of Crawford Town Hall is offering commemorative plaques for sale to past students to be displayed in the historical classroom in the Town Hall.
The chamber awarded a plaque for Non-profit of the year to the Hotchkiss/Crawford Historical Society, which first took up shop in the basement of Memorial Hall in 1975. After several moves through the years, the Historical Society took root in the community and in May 2005 they celebrated a grand opening in their current location in Hotchkiss.
Vervloet provided background on Chuck Farmer, who served as president of the society's board for 10 years, starting in 2008. He passed away on Nov. 3, 2018, and his commitment, abilities, and many contributions were memorialized by Vervloet. Kathy McKee supplied a wealth of information on the Historical Society, which Vervloet has posted on the Crawford Area Chamber's website for those who would like more information on its inception and development here in the Valley. Marilyn Tate accepted the award on behalf of all members of the Hotchkiss/Crawford Historical Society.
The Business of the Year award went to Joe and Janet Gregson and their daughter, Nicole Reasoner. The family owns and operates Wild Country Keepsakes in Crawford. Joe and Janet chanced upon Crawford in June 2013 and have made their home and livelihood here since their retirement. Nicole joined them in November 2015, at which time they opened their business. As well as offering gifts and souvenirs, Wild Country Keepsakes operates a photography studio on the premises. Nicole accepted the plaque from Vervloet.
Sandy Johnson received the Volunteer of the Year award. Johnson is active on all fronts of the community. She has a 30-year background in the health care field and she works for People Care in Delta. Vervloet described her as possessing "a servant's heart" and listed her many roles in Crawford as the person one called upon when requiring aid of any sort; be it medical, personal, or social. Johnson even provides designated driver services when needed.
The field for the Old Timer Award of 2018 was a crowded one, so the board decided to draw lots to recognize the winner. The requirement was that the recipient boasted a birthdate between 1930 and 1936 to receive the award. The lucky winner was Bud Vandenberg, a life-time native of Crawford. He received a copy of the vintage cookbook compiled and published by Christy Hawk and Marlyse Cunningham of the Black Mesa Cattlewomen Organization.
There was a close tie between two new arrivals to Crawford. After some discussion, dual awards went to John Realph, who moved from Missouri in October, and to Doug Gallob and Judy Elliott, a couple who arrived from Denver in June. The prizes were two copies of the vintage cookbooks.
These painstakingly researched cookbooks contain local history, historical photos, as well as recipes from the kitchens of Crawford residents. There was a raffle for a copy of the cookbook at the end of the awards presentation. To complete the gathering each attendee contributed a comment on their history with Crawford and their appreciation for the bonds, benefits, and pleasures of living in Crawford.
The new officers for the Crawford Area Chamber of Commerce were introduced. Serving as president is Collenette Vervloet, with Lasca Hix, vice president; Kristina Cleary, treasurer; and Lynne Watkins, secretary.
Serving on the board are Cally Gallegos, Luke Finley, Jessica Hart, Cathy Cheatham, Leigh Ann Hoyt, Nicole Reasoner and Misty Hess.