Eagle Chamber gala is Saturday night | VailDaily.com

Eagle Chamber gala is Saturday night

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

EAGLE ” Volunteers don’t do what they do for recognition, but when they are honored, what better way to say thanks than with a party?

Nettie Reynolds of Gypsum and Barbara Roberts of Eagle will be honored Dec. 13 as the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizens of the Year for 2008.

The chamber’s 20th annual Extravaganza is planned from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Eagle River Pavilion. The evening will also honor SteamMaster Restoration and Cleaning as the 2008 Business of the Year.

Reynolds was nominated by former Citizen of the Year Pam Schultz of Gypsum to honor her lifelong commitment to the community. Born in Burns in 1939, Reynolds has donated her time to organizations from 4-H to the Gypsum Fire Deparment.

The fire department in Gypsum started in 1974, when a group of residents tried to help Bill Pallister ” then the town’s only employee ” put out a house fire. More women stayed home in those days, and Gypsum’s volunteer fire department was at one time a mostly-female organization.

The group started with one truck, a 1926 LaFrance, and bake sales, raffles and other fundraisers let the all-volunteer group eventually purchase a 1957 model truck.

Reynolds now volunteers with Eagle County Senior Services and is on the Mountain Hospice Board of Directors. She also serves as president of the Western Eagle County Ambulance District Board and the Gypsum Fire Protection Pension Board. She is a certified CPR and Basic First Aid instructor, Medicare and Medicaid counselor and State of Colorado raffle/bingo manager.

How does she do it?

“You just have to organize your time,” Reynolds said. “My dad always said, ‘Don’t waste time ” make your time valuable.'”

Reynolds has done that over the years.

“We are so proud of her, as a family,” said Marcia Parmenter, Reynolds’ daughter.

“She’s just an inspiration to us all. She has helped so many people through the years.”

Mylissa Eckdahl, Kelly Bonser and Annie Egan teamed up to nominate Barbara Roberts for the 2008 Citizen of the Year award.

Eckdahl’s letter describes how she and Roberts didn’t even know one another in January of 2001 when an automobile accident left Eckdahl a quadriplegic. Roberts learned about her neighbor’s accident through a prayer chain at church. Roberts leapt into action and organized a meal plan to cover dinners for Eckdahl’s family.

“Now, seven and one-half years later, she still coordinates our dinner schedule,” Eckdahl wrote. “Five nights a week local families provide us with a home-cooked meal, all through Barbara’s coordination.”

Roberts helped Eckdahl’s daughters learn to cook for their mom, and as Eckdahl started hanging out in the kitchen, the two became friends.

Roberts’ help doesn’t end at the dinner table.

“Rides to school, doctor’s appointments and really anything that Mylissa might need, Barbara is there for all of them,” said Bonser.

Roberts said being chosen Citizen of the Year was a complete surprise.

“It was just overwhelming,” she said.

Like virtually all volunteers, Roberts doesn’t do what she does for recognition.

“I just feel like the things God’s asked me to do are so tiny,” Roberts said. “It’s really overwhelming that my girlfriends would do this for me.”

And, after a tough couple of years in her own life, Roberts said her award might be another sign from above.

“It’s like God’s telling me everything’s going to be OK,” she said.

SteamMaster Restoration and Cleaning LLC is celebrating its 30th anniversary with recognition as the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.

“We are certainly honored to receive a prestigious award like this from the chamber,” said SteamMaster owner Gary Gilman. “It wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of our 45 employees.”

While dinner tickets are just about sold out, chamber director Tim Cochrane said people who’d like to come for dancing, mechanical bull-riding and the rest of the after-dinner party are welcome to pay a $10 cover at the door.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com. The Eagle Valley Enterprise contributed to this report.

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