Fran Cook, former Fraser mayor and council member, was named Citizen of the Year by the Winter Park-Fraser Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber's annual banquet on Friday, Nov. 9.
The award is presented to a person in the Winter Park-Fraser community who has gone out of their way to help improve the community. The awarded individual is chosen by the past five citizens of the year.
"I am deeply honored," Cook said. "I'm almost without words for the depth of appreciation and delight."
Cook served as the mayor of Fraser from 2005 to 2012, prior to which she served on the Town Council and taught kindergarten through second grade at Fraser Valley Elementary.
A old friend and former teaching partner of Cook, Cookie Ready, recalled some of the positive things in the past that Cook had done for the county as well as the positive outlook that seemed to radiate from Cook during her time in the Fraser Valley.
"Fran was always looking out for the best interest of town," Ready said. "Everyday there was something that she did that was special."
Ready recalled the incomparable organization of Cook in everything she did and the dedication she had to the school children she so adored.
While Cook was involved with the elementary school she would help to organize field trips for the children as well as colonial children fairs and native American celebrations where the kids learned a lot and created memories, according to Ready.
"We just had a ball," Ready said.
Cook recently moved to Lakewood to be closer to her family and to enjoy her retirement.
"It breaks my heart not to be in the Fraser Valley, but my family is very important to me," Cook said.
Cook's two sons live in Denver where they own and operate a home building and renovation company called KSK, or Kan't Spell Konstruction.
"I have no idea where they got their sense of humor," Cook said with a laugh.
Cook has been learning accounting skills and plans to maintain the books for her sons' company to help keep her stay busy during her retirement.
Cook has also made calling cards that say "Fran Cook, Lunch Lady" on them. Cook says she takes people to lunch and then shopping or lunch and then a movie.
She recalls how during her teaching days she wore a multitude of different hats including being the lunch lady, the nurse, and office manager for the school.
Cook said her most cherished memories are the relationships she formed with students and their families while working at the school.
Cook still makes frequent trips to Grand County and plans to keep doing so, even though she is starting to adjust to living in the big city and has started to get involved in her new community.
Cook recently leased a new vehicle and one of her friends reminded her that her lease would be expensive if she kept driving up to Fraser all of the time.
"I don't want to hear I can't be going up to Fraser because I leased my new car," Cook said.
Cook is never at a loss to extend a hello to everyone in the valley she sees while she's here.
"She shines all of the time," Ready said. "She is a beacon of light."