WP Chamber Announces Annual Award Winners

The Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce announced last week the winners of its highly prestigious annual awards for the top Volunteer, Employee, Non Profit, Business and Wagon Boss.

The awards will be presented at the Chamber’s “Denim & Diamonds” Gala on Friday, March 11, at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs. Dinner tickets are available by contacting the Chamber office at 719-687-9885 or going to the website at www.woodlandparkchamber.com.

“The quality and quantity of nominations were impressive this year. It is encouraging to know throughout our region we have so many hard working individuals, businesses and non-profits.” said Debbie Miller, president with the Greater Woodland
Park Chamber.

Janet Hooper, who spends hours with the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter (TCRAS), won the award as the top Volunteer of 2015. She was lauded for volunteering more than 800-plus hours walking and sheltering guests at the TCRAS facility. Since 2011, she has faithfully provided assistance love and attention to animals at the shelter. Walking the rescue dogs can take up to three hours in a day, but no matter what the weather holds outside, Janet never misses this opportunity to take the rescue dogs out for their regular strolls.

Voices of Grief emerged as the winner of the top 2015 Non-Profit. The mission for this group is to restore compassion, forgiveness and loving kindness in the process of grief in our culture by preparing individuals with the tools to address their grief. Established in 2012, Voices of Grief works to provide grief education and support. Through community interaction in Teller County and the Pikes Peak Region, Kathy Sparnins, executive director for Voices of Grief, became aware of the overwhelming need within our area to address this issue. Whether it was providing
support education to Alzheimer’s caregivers, grief awareness seminars to the business community or assistance to our local Hospice, there was an expressed need for Voices to expand their reach from local to nationally. It was decided by their Board of Directors to
create a documentary film which could positively impact the world. Months of filming across eight different states, representing over 100 hours of interview footage has been completed. This documentary captures both Pikes Peak area people sharing their personal stories, and nationally renowned experts offering their insight.

As operations manager for Schommer Construction, Mike Schommer was the clear favorite for the 2015 Employee of the Year title. Schommer oversees a myriad of functions from the beginning phases of a project that include the competitive bid application, to overseeing all phases through completion, Mike sets the example of work ethic in the company through action. His dependability and dedication is ever present with the staff at Schommer, as well as with their customers. Mike has earned the entire staff’s respect through his leadership and inclusiveness. Mike also is a dedicated husband to his wife Amy and father to their two amazing children Maddy and Brayden. He is active in his community through supporting the Coach D scholarship fund and many other non-profit organizations.

Foxworth Galbraith, meanwhile, snagged the title as the top Business of 2015.The chamber seeks to honor a member business – small or large – that can meet or exceed the criteria of exceptional job growth, revenue growth, economic sustainability, exemplary customer service, response in times of adversity, and participates with their local community.

Foxworth Galbraith Lumber Company surpassed every expectation of the judges. Foxworth Galbraith is a 115 year-old, family operated lumber company, which has been a part of the Woodland Park community since 1999. During the recent great recession in ’08 and ’09, Foxworth Galbraith sustained their operations with an employee base of 10, which has increased to their current level of 30 employees. Additionally, during that time frame their revenues increased more than 80 percent. These resounding accomplishments were met through teamwork, excellent customer service and the willingness to meet the demands of new and innovate product lines.

As an added benefit, many of the Foxworth Galbraith staff volunteer with a variety of non-profits from Habit for Humanity, AARF, Munchkin Market, Lions Club and Cruise Above the Clouds.

As for the highly coveted “Wagon Boss” award, known historically as the “Leader” who brought settlers west, Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensminger was the winner. The Wagon Boss is traditionally a person of great ethical standards and a distinguished leader who is actively involved in his/her community.

Ensminger began his lifelong community involvement through law enforcement in 1978 in California. He moved to the state of Colorado in 1987, where he began teaching law enforcement classes at Pikes Peak Community College. Since becoming sheriff, Mike developed a passion for listening to the needs of community members and assist if possible to create programs that will meet those needs. Programs like the mandated sub-division patrols in Teller County and the creation of the Law Enforcement Juvenile Diversion Program which gives our youth a second chance. He meets frequently with the youth ofTeller County offering guidance for career and educational advancement. Additionally, he participates with the Junior Achievement program to ensure there are pathways to success for our youth.

Within Teller County, Mike participates with the “Little Britches” Rodeo, Kiwanis Club, Little Chapel Food Pantry, the Senior Center and more. As the Teller County sheriff, he developed the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association, was elected to represent Teller County and the State of Colorado as a director on the County Sheriffs of Colorado Executive Board for 2014, 2015 and re-elected for 2016. He also served on the State DUI Task Force in an attempt to reduce DUI violations and traffic fatalities, and was appointed by the Governor to the “Child Fatality Review Board” for the state of Colorado. Locally, the sheriff has raised $15,000 for SWAT team vests, advocated for the fight in protection of 2nd Amendment rights, and obtained funding in the amount of $40,000 for evidence software.