The Lander Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Recipients were honored at a luncheon at the Lander Community and Convention Center Friday noon. Honored were:
Beautification Award – Gannett Peak Sports, Thomas Pede, Owner
Although it’s much more than a bike shop, Gannett Peak Sports has been named as one of America’s Best Bike Shops by the National Bike Dealers’ Association for six years running. Last year, Owner Thomas Pede partnered with Drayson Bratt to purchase the former Shirts & More building, conducted extensive renovations in just 5 weeks, and then relocated the store into the new space. Thomas wanted me to say specifically that he gives a huge “thank you” to his wife Samantha for her support and for designing the mural that’s been such an attention-grabber and talking point. Thomas also would like to express his gratitude to Roy & Jacquie Hediger, Paul Guschewsky, the McRae family, and Cache Fross for their contributions — and to their many other friends and neighbors who helped them get to where they are today. A final thank you goes out to the incredible customers and crew for putting up with the move during the busiest time of year. Says Thomas, “We could not have done this without all of you. We love this community. We’re honored to receive this award for our little part in improving it.”
Rookie of the Year – Alpha Recreation Center (ARC), Glen & Carrie Keller, Owners
The Alpha Recreation Center is led by Glen & Carrie Keller and directed by Kaci Peil (pr: Casey Pyle). The ARC is committed to providing affordable recreational opportunities for children, youth, and adults in a safe environment. The 14,000 sq. ft. building hosts a variety of opportunities for the community to enjoy, including a kids’ playscape, bouncy house, treehouse, game room, gymnasium, and coffee bar. The future vision is one day to create an area for outside activities. And in a case of absolutely perfect timing (and no, we did not set this up!) the grand opening of their brand new climbing wall is this very weekend!
Spirit of Lander – Paul Guschewsky
Paul Guschewsky epitomizes the Spirit of Lander. From his volunteer work with the Ambassadors and LEDA to his true entrepreneurial spirit, Paul always has an eye on the future of this fantastic community. Wyoming Catholic College, Rocky Mountain Oncology, and the revitalization of the old Fremont Motors buildings into a new multi-business park are just a few examples of ground-breaking projects that have been steered by his hand. Because Paul shuns the spotlight few people are aware of his many contributions to our thriving City, but we want to recognize his efforts and thank him for his devotion, optimism, and brilliant vision. Without Paul, Lander would be much poorer in economy and in spirit.
Lander Ambassador of the Year – Leonard Yost
Mr. Yost was unavailable to attend
Leonard Yost was a founding member of the Lander Ambassadors 31 years ago (1989). A board member of both Westward Heights Nursing Home and Mountain Vista Retirement Residence, Leonard also was instrumental in the establishment of the Housing Authority of the City of Lander, formed in 1979. The Authority obtained grants and loans to build Pushroot Village, a low income housing facility. This Ambassador has also been a long time member of the Lander Kiwanis club and the Lander One Shot. For the One Shot, he was a board member, guide, and is a past shooter. He has also served on the board of the Lander Chamber of Commerce. No matter what organization Leonard is involved in, he always gives 110% and is an active and productive member of each group. And lastly, you always notice this Ambassador’s presence in the room before you even see him; the aroma from his pipe usually lets everyone know he’s arrived.
Special Recognition of Lander Ambassadors for Outstanding Charitable Service
As a private organization, the Lander Ambassadors truly exemplify charitable service. Indeed, as a member of the group shared with me, “Basically, Owen, we’re a social club with a charity problem.” For more than 30 years the Ambassadors have generously supported events and businesses and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various community efforts, most recently contributing nearly $50,000 to the Lander Chamber of Commerce and the Water for Wildlife Foundation. In recognition of more than three decades of always being there for the Lander community, the Lander Chamber of Commerce presents this special award to the Lander Ambassadors for Outstanding Charitable Service.
Lander Chamber of Commerce Past-President – Susan Weideman, Lander Vision Center
Susan was unable to attend as she was assisting an ailing sister on the East Coast.
A successful business co-owner with her husband Dr. Mike Weideman, Susan served as a member of the Chamber Board of Directors for 9 years. In 2018 she became vice president and shortly thereafter served as president for 2 years; she is the living embodiment of the community-focused business owner. As a member of the Board, Susan oversaw fundraising for the Lander Chamber of Commerce Business Complex and Visitor Center and saw the project through from inception to completion. Susan was also intensely passionate about the beautification of Lander; many of the benches around town and the beautiful flower barrels were due to her influence. She has a sharp mind, a witty tongue, and a big heart — and shares all three without hesitation! She was always present at events, always the first to volunteer and — most importantly — always first to bring the cookies!
Lifetime Contribution – Bill Sniffin
According to his daughter, Shelli Johnson, Bill Sniffin loves Lander and Wyoming as much or more than anyone she knows. Bill ran the Lander newspaper for 30 years and during a long (and still ongoing) media career, the Sniffins have owned 20 media companies. After the U.S. Steel bust of 1982, Bill co-founded LEADER Corporation and served as its first president as it worked to successfully rebuild Lander. Bill went on to serve as chairman of the Wyoming Travel Commission in 1990 and founded the Wind River Visitor Council. Bill also was a member of the Cornerstone Committee, which worked with the founders of Wyoming Catholic College to locate it here in Lander. Today, Bill writes a column for 20 Wyoming newspapers and is publisher of Cowboy State Daily. His daughter Shelli says that, “When he and my mom moved us to Lander from Iowa when I was 3, it was one of the greatest gifts they’ve given me.”
Anchor Award – Lander Children’s Museum, Martha Howard-Sempert
The Lander Children’s Museum is celebrating 20 years of fostering curiosity and creativity through a variety of hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences. Martha shares that the museum’s goal for the next 20 years is to expand and rebrand itself with STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) to appeal to a broader age range and to form partnerships with the community. The 20th Birthday Celebration of the Lander Children’s Museum — the Gatsby Gala — will be celebrated in this very building on March 7th, and while this Anchor Award celebrates the past 20 years, the museum looks forward to the possibilities of the next 20.
Keynote Speaker – Dr. Kevin Courville, Wind River Heart Clinic
Dr. Courville is a cardiologist board-certified in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation, Interventional Cardiology, and Cardiovascular Diseases. Dedicated to improving the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF), while still practicing as an independent cardiologist, he began to develop the algorithms and concepts to improve the outpatient management of CHF. This led to the invention of the PULSARIO remote heart management system and the Prevail Heart Clinics of America, of which Wind River Heart Clinic is a part.