Brubeck picked as "Citizen of the Year’ | VailDaily.com

Brubeck picked as "Citizen of the Year’

Scott N. Miller/Eagle Correspondent

Scott N. Miller/Special to the Daily

Look at Brubeck’s to-do list, though, and it’s easy to wonder if he hasn’t received special dispensation for a 25-hour day. Brubeck, the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2003 Citizen of the Year, is involved in enough activities to keep two people occupied.

The president of the Eagle branch of Mesa National Bank, Brubeck is involved in the Chamber, as well as the Eagle Valley Rotary Club, the Eagle Flight Days Committee, and the Junior Livestock Sales Commission of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo. He’s also involved with United Way of Eagle County, serves as a youth coach for the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District, sits on the St. Clare of Assisi Parish Finance Committee, and has for several years coached special needs kids during the winter Special Olympics season.

It’s that last entry that really caught the attention of the Chamber’s selection committee.

“We had three outstanding nominees this year, but Kevin’s involvement in Special Olympics really pushed me over the edge,” said Chamber Director Tim Cochrane. “There are things you expect bank presidents to be involved in, but he doesn’t have to do Special Olympics.”

Benevolent background

Brubeck has deep family connections to special needs kids. His father was with special kids in Washington, D.C., so Brubeck was well acquainted with such programs.

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A few years ago, Brubeck’s wife, Mary Beth, saw an ad seeking Special Olympics coaches for the local program. He immediately signed up to participate.

The entire family became involved in the local program, but Brubeck and his daughter, Sarah, seem to have given more of themselves to the young athletes. In fact, Sarah, a freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has decided to come to Vail to coach every weekend during the season.

“We really get more out of that than we give,” said Kevin. Special Olympics may get a bit more from Brubeck. A cash prize goes with the Citizen of the Year award, and Brubeck said Special Olympics usually needs money for equipment. That could be one of his priorities.

Cause conscious

Pondering further, Brubeck also noted a few Rotary Club needs, especially a project involving the purchase of a dictionary for every local third grader. That effort recently received a donation of nearly $1,000, realized from the traveling silent auction held along with the recent Artists’ Studio Tour.

Brubeck deflected credit for the donation, but acknowledged that when tour organizer Versiellen Driver called seeking guidance for a worthy cause for the silent auction, he suggested the dictionary program.

Like most people honored as Citizen of the Year, Brubeck is humble. “I don’t do anything for the recognition,” he said. “There are a lot of people way more deserving of this than I am.”

Of his varied interests, Brubeck turned the attention to his family. “Most of it is their fault,” he said, noting his involvement in youth activities is due largely to his kids.

People who work with Brubeck know better.

“I’ve had the pleasure of doing business with Kevin and knowing him through the chamber. His wit, humor and charm made him the perfect choice,” said Chamber Board President Jan Rosenthal Townsend.

Debbie Anderson, who works for Brubeck at Mesa Bank, helped pull together his nomination package, unknown to her boss.

“We see everything he does, and he does it with enthusiasm, especially if it’s something to do with kids,” she said.

Expect to see Brubeck as grand marshal of the Christmas on Broadway parade.

Jet Center named “Business of the Year’

The Vail Valley Jet Center has been named the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year.

Chamber Director Tim Cochrane said the Jet Center was the unanimous choice for this year’s honor.

“Their attitude, atmosphere and community contributions are exceptional,” said Cochrane. Jet Center managers have helped get grieving friends and relatives to funerals around the country, Cochrane said. In one case, the business flew a casket home at no charge.

In addition, the Jet Center has for the last two years sponsored “Plane Fun,” a community event at the airport.

“They’ve got low turnover and high reviews from clients. That’s what a leader in business does,” said Cochrane.

This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.