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Former Mayor Vi June was not going to pass up a live microphone.
The former Westminster City Councilor, newspaper publisher and state legislator, now retired and living in Westminster’s San Marino Retirement Community, was center stage once more, winning the Westminster Legacy Foundation’s first lifetime achievement honor, the Nancy Heil Award.
“The powers that be said I don’t need to talk, but how could I dare not talk?” June said May 11 at the foundation’s award breakfast. “I just want to say thank you to all of you. I am deeply honored and humbled and I hope to continue serving Westminster in my retirement.”
June was one of seven residents, ranging from a fifth-grade student to a former district attorney, to be honored by the foundation in what they hope will become an annual event.
“From our youngest members to our students to our business world, we appreciate everything you have done to make Westminster better,” Mayor Herb Atchison said to close the event. “As you go about your day today, think about that next year we will have another group up here, honoring those that have helped the city.”
Westminster has plenty of people that qualify, according to Preston Chapman, president of the foundation.
“Volunteers do an enormous amount of work behind the scenes in our community,” Chapman said. “I don’t think they often get recognized. They certainly don’t do it for recognition but it’s nice when it’s received. So, we thought it was just time.”
The foundation kicked off it’s first annual award breakfast May 11 at the Westin Westminster, handing out awards across seven categories.
In all, people from around Westminster nominated 19 people or groups for awards.
The City’s own Water Quality group was given the Nature, Environment and Sustainability award for their work improving and protecting the natural environment in Westminster.
Former Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant was given the Health and Human Services Hero award for his work with Court Appointed Special Advocates program.
North Metro Arts Alliance co-founder and former president Becky Silver will be given the Arts and Culture Award, presented for making a significant and lasting impact on arts and culture in the City of Westminster. Silver also owns the AAR River Gallery in Westminster.
Westminster CPA Ronald Schaefer will be given the Corporate Citizen Award.
Westminster High School Senior Ivan Mendoza was named Westminster’s Young Citizen of the Year. Mendoza, a member of Westminster’s Youth Advisory Panel, was involved in designing, organizing and managing that group’s Rocky Mountain Youth Summit in February.
The youngest honoree was fifth grade student Addison Ginther, who has worked with A Precious Child, named the Westminster Citizen of the year. A Precious Child helps North Metro families in crisis situations or poverty.
Ginther’s efforts stretched to her school, where she led sock drives, and to her birthday. She donated it to the charity, urging her friends to donate and volunteer there in lieu of gifts.
“Addison Ginther is a truly inspirational young person,” Chris Gdowski, superintendent of the Adams 12 Five Star School District.
“She is incredibly dedicated to community service and goes above and beyond in her efforts to improve the lives of those who are less fortunate than her. She is a role model for kids and adults in every aspect of her life.”
But June took the foundation’s top honor, named for another former mayor, Legacy foundation founder Nancy Heil. June logged in five-decades of community service, serving as a City Councilor and the city’s first female mayor from 1975 to 1981. She followed that up in 1990, winning a seat on the Colorado State Legislature, representing House District 35.
Always outspoken, June wrote a column for the Westminster Window and worked as publisher for a time.
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