The Rotary Club of the Winter Park-Fraser Valley has named Peggy Smith as the 2014 recipient of the Michael Muftic Service Above Self Award.
“Peggy tirelessly serves our community, both as an elected official and through the many charities she supports,” said Rotary Club of Winter Park–Fraser Valley President Elect Philip Naill. “I’m honored to serve with Peggy on the Fraser Town Board.”
Smith first moved to the Fraser Valley in 2001 to raise her two sons Connor and Spencer Nelson, who at the time were 7 and 9 years old, respectively.
“I moved up here so my kids could ski and live in a small town and go to a good school,” Smith said.
And ski her kids did, as they quickly took to the sport and advanced far beyond what Smith could ever imagine. Connor, the youngest of Smith’s son, continues to follow his passion for skiing and currently coaches big mountain skiing in the Aspen area.
In 2010, Smith’s eldest son was killed in a skiing accident in the Maroon Bells while hiking with his father, Smith’s husband Peter Nelson. It was then Peggy learned the true color of the community and the people who surrounded her.
She said there was an outpouring of support from the community, something she has never forgotten and something that compelled her to want to give back to the community that gave her the strength to cope and look toward the future after such a tragic event.
“It was phenomenal how they supported me,” she said.
Smith moved to become a member of the housing authority before she was voted onto the Fraser town board, eventually running for the position of Mayor of Fraser.
And while Smith has dealt with some of the toughest and most controversial issues the town has faced in recent history, including the Byers Peak Ranch Annexation and medical and recreational marijuana issues, she is still considering running for a second term as the Mayor of Fraser, with two years left in her current term.
“It really is a challenge,” Smith said. “But it’s fun and it’s interesting to be able to learn something new every day.”
Smith also devotes her time to working with the Competition Center at Winter Park Resort, which she says reminds her on a daily basis why she loves to live in the Fraser Valley.
“I love the fact that everybody really chips in, it’s a community where everybody volunteers and shares,” she said. “I see it every day with the volunteers who work at the resort. It’s huge, I think.”
For three years, Smith has worked with the Competition Center to organize the Hike for Spencer event, which raises money for the Spencer Memorial Fund that helps pays for ski education program fees for local kids. So far, the event has raised $100,000.
Smith and the Competition Center also help to organize the Colorado University Spencer James Nelson Memorial Ski Race, which raises money for programs at CU, where Spencer was a student and Division 1 athlete at the time of his death.
Smith never stops looking towards the future and hopes she can continue to be a part of the Fraser Valley community as it grows and continues to thrive.
“I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” Smith said.
“She does so much here and gracefully commits her time and effort and money to make this place a good place to live,” said Brad Smith, the current president of the Rotary Club of the Winter Park-Fraser Valley.
“It is an honor to be chosen for this award, and I will keep trying as hard as I can to work in the best interests of this community,” Smith said.
Smith is also a member of the board of directors for the Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, as well as serves on the Fraser Planning Committee and Fraser Water and Wastewater Committee.
The Service Above Self award is named in honor of Dr. Michael Muftic for his humanitarian work around the world. He is a member of the Denver Rotary Club and was named Rotarian of the Year there in 1999. He is also an honorary member of the Winter Park-Fraser Valley Club and is known for his many generous contributions to our community in Fraser Valley, most notably with the 9 Health Fair and NSCD.
Past recipients of the award include Kim Linin, Rich Devlin, Ron Nelson, Mark Johnson, Kirk Klancke, Lurleen Underbrink Curran, Steve Radcliffe and Gary DeFrange.
The award will be presented at the club’s annual Service Above Self dinner being held at Fontenot’s Restaurant on Sunday, April 13.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334