Apr 26, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterA night of awards and kind words were extended to Riverton residents for their ongoing hard work and service during the 2013 Riverton Chamber Annual Awards Banquet on April 12 at the REACH Foundation Club House.
"They've made a difference in our community and in our lives," said Maggie Haworth, president of the executive board of directors of the Riverton Chamber of Commerce.
The Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Chris Jones of Riverton for his extensive involvement in community programs and services. The plaque was presented by an emotional Travis Koehn who described Jones as being an inspiration and listed a number of events and organizations he has been a part of, including coaching youth soccer teams and participating in the Kiwanis Club, Hats Off for Hope Gala, Knights of Columbus, Special Olympics, the PBS Pledge Drive, Cub Scouts.
"Chris is extremely active in the community. ... He does so many things for so many different groups," Koehn said. "He inspires me to do better; he really grows that circle of influence."
Jones expressed his gratitude for being selected and also thanked his wife and mother who were present.
"I am hopeful that we are teaching our children the importance of loving and serving our community," Jones said. "We're proud to call Riverton home ... I sincerely appreciate this award (and) what it stands for."
Community Service Award
The Community Service Award was given to Kenneth J. Webber for his leadership role in assisting elders with finding housing.
"Ken Webber has developed a lifetime of energy and accumulated business experience to the compassionate and much valued goal that the REACH organization dedicates to Riverton and its older senior citizens," said Nancy Sehnert, the presenter of the award.
"As if that wasn't sufficiently challenging, (he) led the follow-through of the development of acreage," Sehnert said, adding that he helped operate and maintain several assisted living and housing facilities for elders.
Webber was thankful and emotional after he recalled a story of seeing a woman become overwhelmed with tears after seeing the new home she would live in.
Lifetime Service Award
Dianne Tippets presented the Lifetime Service Award to Dennis and Elaine Heckhert of Riverton.
Tippets listed the extensive services the couple provided to the community and said that membership with the commerce tripled when Dennis Heckhert was the executive director. The two also were Kiwanis Club members for a long time.
Dennis Heckhert was a member of the Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees, a member of the Fremont County Commission from 2006 to 2010, and a liaison with Help for Health.
Elaine Heckhert was part of the Riverton Branch Library board and worked with registration and records at CWC.
Dennis Heckhert described the couple's reaction when they received the letter from chamber director Jim Davis that told them they would be awarded.
"We were absolutely speechless," Dennis Heckhert said. "For me to be speechless ... that's quite rare."
They have lived in Riverton for more than 30 years.
"It's not about Elaine and me, it's about the celebration of service," Dennis Heckhert said. "All of us provide service in some way."
Chamber Service Award
Encana Oil & Gas was given the Chamber Service Award for the contribution of thousands of dollars through the chamber's gift certificate program.
Wind River environmental field lead Andrea Taylor accepted the award on behalf of Encana Oil & Gas. Davis presented the plaque to Taylor and said Encana has been an "outstanding supporter."
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