Chamber Announces Award Winners

The Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce announced today the winners of the following awards for service in 2021. Volunteer, Non-Profit, Employee and Business of the Year, along with naming the Wagon Boss for 2021.

Nominations were opened in late December and closed on February 4th. Every nomination
was submitted to a group of judges from out of state. “Utilizing judges who are not familiar
with the nominees ensures each nomination was evaluated based on the criteria sought for
the winner of the award.” noted Chamber President Debbie Miller.

A volunteer gives selflessly of their time, knowledge and more to assist a particular entity
or more. The 2021 Volunteer was described as helping to make history fun in working
with 2nd graders for the annual history tour of the community. She’s been described as a
self-starter who goes the extra mile to see a project through to completion. The 2021
Volunteer Pat Hyslop, worked to ensure the historic film about Dude Ranches was
completed – even during COVID. “Pat assisted in writing the scripts, working with the
film crew and all the follow up work that goes into film making.” said Donna Finicle, a
member with the Ute Pass Historical Society. “Pat has even completed another film about
the history of lettuce and potato farming in Divide.” Ms. Hyslop volunteers with a myriad
of other organizations within the Teller County region as well.

Founded in 1992, the 2021 Non-Profit winner is Community Family Partnership Resource
Center (CP). Founded in part due to the limited stakes gaming in the region and the challenges presented in human services and family support services, they are still fulfilling
that role 30 years later. In the midst of the most challenging times an organization can face
– a pandemic, Community Partnership moved forward fulfilling the needs that included
parenting education, GED preparation and testing, Career readiness, adult education,
financial health education and so much more. Community Partnership’s target population
in Teller County are families who have the goal of increasing family strengths that will
lead to self-sufficiency. In August of 2021, Community Partnership was one of two Family
Resource Centers in the country highlighted in a research report from Omni Institute. The
research report detailed the return on investment (ROI) with every $1 invested in a FRC in
Teller County, resulted in a $2.92 savings for the child welfare system. On October 5,
2021, CP purchased a building located in Woodland Park. While currently undergoing
extensive remodeling the schedule will be completed in 2022. “This larger facility will
service the growing needs of Community Partnership.” noted Steve Woolf, Chairman of
the Chamber Board. “Continuation of their current programs, along with meeting space for
agencies that compliment each other’s services to collaborate to serve families is a
significant step forward for this agency.”

Criteria for the Employee award includes Goal Oriented, Exemplary Work Ethic, Self-
Motivator and Leadership. The 2021 Employee award winner is Christi Conner who is

Business Office Manager and HR Director with Forest Ridge Senior Living for the past
five years. “Christi’s skill set in recognizing needs of the facility and moving forward to
complete the tasks serves the organization well.” noted Chamber President Debbie Miller.
An aptitude for customer service is needed in all aspects of Ms. Conner’s position to
include accounts payable, resident funds, payroll and the insurance processing for
residents. She meets urgent deadlines with accuracy and grace. “Christi truly embraces
Forest Ridge’s mission statement ‘Compassionate Care with Heart’, declared Jamie
Hutchins, Transitional Care Manager at Forest Ridge Senior Living.

Meeting the required criteria for Business of the Year for 2021 was met with challenges
brought on as the pandemic continued throughout the world. This year’s winner met the
COVID challenges head on. COVID restrictions placed on businesses, staff shortages,
supply shortages and the increased cost of products were just a few obstacles and
challenges Joanie’s Deli and Bakery had to overcome in 2021. Creating a clean
environment was essential for the health of staff and patrons. Improved recipes were
created to include higher quality food meant new equipment needed. Increased staff from
6 to 14 was paramount to servicing the needs of existing and new customers of the business.
Take and Bake became an option needed for those customers who did not embrace the dine in philosophy during COVID. Improvement of the Point-of-Sale system provided better
customer service to customers so they could pay online or in the store. “Joanie’s is an
integral part of our business community here in Woodland Park,” said Steve Woolf,
Chairman of the Chamber Board. “Their desire to give back by donating to special events
and the school shows a true sense of community.” The future looks bright for this business
as they look to expand into dinner hours that will include a dinner menu offering Italian

A Chamber Wagon Boss is a person of great ethical standards, integrity and a distinguished
leader who has been actively involved in their community. This individual has made a
positive and lasting impact on the region for years. The 2021 Wagon Boss Michael Harper
is the essence of who the Chamber seeks to represent us as Wagon Boss. Mr. Harper has
been a part of the region for 40 years. As such he has owned and operated multiple business in the community over this period of time. He is still actively participating in the business community through Michael Harper Real Estate and other businesses. “Watching Michael lead countless meetings where he seeks consensus building is amazing.” noted Mark Weaver. “Michael listens very carefully to everyone and weaves their thoughts and
opinions to give movement to a solution. He truly chooses relationships over business
when seeking to address issue(s).” Michael is active with his church playing rhythm guitar
on the worship team. Additionally, he’s on the team for The Walk to Emmaus Retreats
that are held in this area approximately 2 – 3 times a year. The 2010 Wagon Boss Spence
Swann noted, “Michael is a kind and honest man. He is true to his word – what he says is
what you get.” As a volunteer, Michael contributes to a greater quality of life in our

community serving others before self. He regularly visits our local hospital along with
Daybreak to bring “Lincoln” his highly trained standard poodle to bring comfort to patients
and participants. “We will never know the hundreds of patients’ lives that Michael and
Lincoln have positively touched with his visits to the hospital and Daybreak.” declared
Debbie Miller, Chamber President. “To give so selflessly to those who are in a time of
crisis, speaks to the integrity and caring of our 2021 Wagon Boss.”

These awards will be presented at the Chamber’s Annual Gala on Friday, March 18, 2022
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