JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Since 1965 the valley has honored its citizens with the Annual Awards Celebration presented by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. The 52nd such gala will be held Friday, October 27 at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village.
Buckrail has learned who is getting what as the celebration recognizes the spirit of Jackson Hole and celebrates the individuals, businesses, and nonprofits that are making positive contributions. Awards will be presented to:
- Rich Ochs (Citizen of the Year)
- Clarke Nelson (Power of Place)
- Crista Valentino (Rising Star)
- Slow Food in the Tetons (G2G: Green-to-Green)
- Jackson Hole Rodeo (Business of the Year)
- Terry Ray (Distinguished Service)
Director of special events Maureen Murphy says, “The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize these inspirational leaders that help make Jackson Hole an extraordinary community.”
Rich Ochs (Citizen of the Year): Rich Ochs, CEM, MEP has been an important presence in the community for many years and he wears many hats: Emergency Management Coordinator for Teton County, Chairman for the Teton Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), President-Elect for Wyoming All-Hazards Association, and Planning Section Chief for Wyoming Type 3 All-Hazards. In 2017, Rich’s work came into the spotlight with significant winter storm and power outage in February and again with Total Solar Eclipse in August. One nomination described Rich as “a true civil servant, organized leader and thinker with ultimate leadership actions best evidenced in ability to think critically and act with strategy, compassion, humor and ultimately humility.”
Clarke Nelson (Power of Place): This award is for those individuals and families with long-term demonstrated respect for the power of place we call Jackson Hole through dedicated, effective and exceptional action to ensure the vitality of our economy, community, and environment, our triple bottom line. Clarke has been working to champion Jackson Hole for the present and for the future. He has started numerous scholarships for high school students and holds volunteer positions include serving as a Trustee Emeritus for the National Museum of Wildlife Art and as an Emeritus Member of the Teton Science Schools Journeys School Board of Directors.
Crista Valentino (Rising Star): A Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board Member, Crista shares her passion for Jackson Hole, conservation, sustainability, and adventure in many ways According to one nomination, “Her organizations, Current and CoalitionWild, support and encourage conservation locally, statewide, and internationally, while striving to inspire the next generation of ideas and leadership. As a BackcountryZero Ambassador, she embodies the local adventure athlete, while emphasizing smart decisions to reduce risk and ensure she (and others) come home safely after the adventure.” Other nominations noted that she “positively makes her mark on each endeavor she pursues” and “her remarkable energy can carry others forward with her.”
Slow Food in the Tetons (G2G: Green-to-Green): Slow Food in the Tetons works to grow our local and regional sustainable food economy by supporting producers, educating consumers and connecting them together in the spirit of good, clean and fair food. Their work has made a lasting impact in Jackson Hole by inspiring individuals, businesses, and other nonprofits. Nominations lauded their programs and projects, including the People’s Market, Slow Food Farm Stand, and community meals. Nominations also celebrated their collaboration with other local businesses and nonprofits, including Friends of Pathways, Local Restaurant & Bar, Lockhart Ranch, Snake River Grill, Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling – RRR Business Leaders, and Vertical Harvest.
Jackson Hole Rodeo (Business of the Year): As Jackson Hole Rodeo’s website states, “Rodeo has been a part of Jackson Hole’s cowboy culture since the first settlers arrived over 100 years ago.” As a part of their commitment to culture and community, they provided the stock for the Jackson High School Rodeo in September. While rodeo is a tradition, the business is a modern operation. The Jackson Hole Rodeo has successfully incorporated the Friday rodeos in to their summer schedule, opened a new and improved concession stand on the northeast portion of the rodeo arena, and started a fun new social media focus complete with live Facebook feeds.
Terry Ray (Distinguished Service): The Distinguished Service Award is reserved for industry leaders and benefactors to the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce who have consistently dedicated their own resources and expertise to promoting the destination overall. Terry Ray, Owner of West Lives on Gallery, is an exemplary recipient. His work positively impacts the community of Jackson Hole and his dedication to the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival has helped to ensure that the event remains successful and sustainable.