Community members nominate the recipients of these annual awards, and a board made up of a town council member, a member of the clergy, a chamber member at large, chamber chairman of the board and the chamber CEO makes the final selections.
The Chamber named Heidi Dahms-Foster, editorial manager of non-daily publications for Prescott Newspapers Inc., its Citizen of the Year. Dahms-Foster joined the Prescott Valley Tribune in 1989, and saw Prescott Valley grow from 8,000 residents to its more than 40,000 today.
"Heidi has been involved with community projects such as the Burning Desire to Feed the Hungry food drive, the annual Christmas light parade and program and the July 4th celebrations. Heidi's enthusiasm, excitement and love of what she does affects all who work for her and with her. Her unselfish commitment to work and her community makes her well deserving of Citizen of the Year," her nomination letter stated.
Clyde Neville is the Chamber's Community Booster of the Year for 2009. Neville, a retired building contractor, has lent his construction skills to many local projects, and this year he renovated a former 2,500-square-foot warehouse to found the 86-seat Lonesome Valley Playhouse.
"Clyde brought the Arts and Culture Commission to Prescott Valley and with that he was instrumental in developing the collection of sculpture and art for the civic center. He was involved with the World Arts Festival and the Kinetic Sculpture Race, where as a judge he brought humor and fun to the event," his nominator said. "Clyde was instrumental in the development and renovation of the Boys and Girls Club building on Loos, and has served on the board and as its president.
"Clyde continues to give selflessly as he is involved with Prescott Fine Arts, Prescott Area Women's Shelter, VFW Post 10227, Hispanic Businesswomen's Association and with the Prescott Area Arts and Humanities Council. Clyde is never too busy to help another person or organization with support, assistance, grant writing or construction expertise. It is his unfailing generosity and thoughtfulness to others and to his community that makes him so deserving of this award."
The Prescott Valley Heritage Award went to Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog, whom Chamber President and CEO Marnie Uhl saluted for maintaining the town on a sound financial footing despite difficult economic times.
"One cannot think of Prescott Valley without Harvey Skoog coming to mind," his nomination letter stated. "Skoog has served his community for many years both as a council member and as a mayor. Mayor Skoog truly puts his heart and soul into everything he does whether it's visiting with residents over tea and donuts or rolling up his sleeves to serve hot meals to seniors - no task is too big or too small. Harvey is dedicated to his constituency and proves time and time again that everyone is important - old or young, big or small."
In an emotional acceptance, Skoog saluted the community where he and his wife Edna raised and educated nine children.
Student of the Year for 2009 is Andrea Cohn, who has been an active leader in her school, the Youth Chamber and a strong motivator of other young people.
"She took the Prescott Valley Charter School's Youth Chamber to new heights this year. Andie was the youth coordinator for all three blood drives this school year. Recently at an Arizona Diamondbacks game, United Blood Services awarded the Youth Chamber two prestigious awards: Small School of the Year for total blood unit donations in schools its size, and Highest Total Percentage Participation for all Arizona schools.
"In addition to her many community services, Andie is also an academic leader. She was selected as Valedictorian at this year's commencement. This community is very fortunate to have a young person like Andie Cohn," her nominator said.
Volunteer of the Year is the Prescott Valley Historical Society's Barbara Burton, who has held almost all the offices in the organization. She is currently its historian. She also serves as a docent at the Sharlot Hall Museum.
Her nominator said, "Barbara is a good organizer and takes on every challenge that involves the Prescott Valley Historical Society for the community of Prescott Valley. We would have a hard time finding another person like Barbara."
Barbara was not able to attend the banquet because of family commitments, so the Tribune will run her photo at a later date.
Chamber Member of the Year for 2009 is Affinity RV, a local recreational vehicle dealer that has lent its RVs for such chamber projects as A Burning Desire to Feed the Hungry, Valley of Lights, Prescott Valley Days, the Fourth of July Celebration and others.
"Affinity RV has been supporting the Chamber of Commerce for many years. Their generosity in supplying RVs for Chamber events has contributed to the success and comfort for many events. When Bev calls to request an RV for an event there is never a hesitation, just when and where," the nominator said.
Owner Bob Been said Prescott Valley has kept him very busy, but he's happy to help the community.
Horses with H.E.A.R.T., the equine therapy program that serves Yavapai County's children and adults with special needs, is the Organization of the Year. HwH currently is seeking a new home after the sale of the ranch which used to provide it a headquarters.
"This volunteer-driven nonprofit has faced many challenges, including the necessity of conducting a Capital Campaign for a permanent home during a recession, yet they never lost heart. Those involved with Horses with H.E.A.R.T. are continually inspired by their riders and their mission 'to provide a safe and enjoyable equine experience for people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities, encouraging each rider to develop independent skills at his or her own level of ability,'" the nominating letter stated.
Director Trudy Chapman Radley accepted the award on behalf of Horses with HEART.
Tying for the Community Improvement Large Project of the Year were Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn, whose construction in the past year doubled the lodging capacity of Prescott Valley.
"Hampton Inn and Suites and Comfort Suites, two new lodging properties in the community, opened in late 2008, immediately doubling the number of hotel rooms available nightly in town. The 218 new hotel rooms and much-needed meeting space at the two new properties represent millions of dollars in new investment in Prescott Valley and a vote of confidence in Prescott Valley's future," their nominator wrote.
The winner of small project honors was the Pony Espresso Café in the Prescott Valley Old Town area.
"Tim and Cathi Fitzgerald have redefined entertainment in Prescott Valley by hosting musical presentations and concerts, art shows, holistic health fairs, and open mic nights. Pony Espresso is a valuable addition to Old Town Prescott Valley and has created a sense of place for the community to enjoy," the nominating letter stated.