KREMMLING - Chris and Cheryl Brown came to Kremmling in 1980 with the dream of teaching and coaching at a school in the mountains. More than 30 years later, they have reached numerous milestones, coached and watched their children win state championships and earned the accolades that are often used to measure success.
More importantly to them, however, was the opportunity to instill in young people a set of values that reflect hard work, loyalty, the ability to commit to a common goal, to place group accomplishments above individual accolades and the value of community.
That lifestyle of commitment to young people is a primary reason they have been named by the West Grand Community Educational Foundation as the Citizens of the Year for 2012. They will be honored by the Foundation at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 20. Tickets are still available to the annual banquet hosted by the foundation. In addition to honoring the Browns, the evening will include a steak or chicken dinner and entertainment provided by Rusty Z, comedy hypnotist.
The Browns started their professional lives in Limon, where Chris led the Badgers football team to two state championships. They then moved to Walsenberg, where they coached and taught for one year. An opportunity to teach and work in the mountains presented itself at West Grand High School in Kremmling and the Browns made their last professional move.
Chris took a position teaching at the high school and took the reins as football coach. Cheryl soon started as a part-time elementary physical education teacher at the elementary school. That assignment became a full-time position that Cheryl held until she retired three years ago. Chris has officially retired from classroom duties, but remains as a coach of football and track, the athletic director and a volunteer weightlifting instructor.
At the three school districts in which they have worked, Chris and Cheryl coached volleyball, football, boys and girls basketball and track. They have taught at the high school and at the junior high level. They have coached together and they have served as each others' assistants. Their commitment to similar values and to teaching young people has guided their steps and helped them be successful at every level and with numerous sports.
Chris has led the West Grand Mustangs to two state football titles, he has served as president of the state's football coaches association in Colorado and in 2008 was named to the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. His football teams have reached the state playoffs 24 times with 13 appearances in the Final Four. In recognition of his athletic prowess in college, he was named in 2002 to the University of Northern Colorado Dream Team at two positions, wide receiver and punt returner.
Cheryl has had the honor of helping coach state championship track teams. She has been named Coach of the Year in Colorado and has earned state recognition as an assistant coach. After 30 years as a volleyball referee, she is now an assistant coach of the West Grand High School volleyball team and is also a track coach at the high school. One of her joys has been the opportunity to watch students progress from her kindergarten physical education classes through elementary school, junior high and high school. She says she has been blessed to be a teacher, coach and mentor for many children as they grew up in the West Grand school system.
Both Chris and Cheryl noted how much they have enjoyed working with outstanding staff members within the school district. The staff helped to reinforce the values in which the Browns have always believed. That translated into state recognition for the students in academics as well as the recognition many of those same students were earning on the fields of competition.
They both indicated they have also been very blessed to have worked with numerous coaches who have placed a high value on teaching and reinforcing life lessons to young people.
To obtain tickets for the banquet and show, contact Linda Haynes at the West Grand School District Office or call 724-1006. Tickets are $30 per person for the banquet and the entertainment. If a person wants to only attend the 8 p.m. show with Rusty Z, those tickets can be purchased for $5 per person.
The meal includes mesquite grilled rib-eye steak or a chicken breast, baked potato, coleslaw, dinner roll, drink and dessert. Information regarding the dinner, show and tickets can be obtained from Linda Haynes, 724-1006.