The Fraser Winter Park Chamber of Commerce has named Roger Hedlund Winter Park’s Citizen of the Year for 2013, for his numerous contributions to the community and his devotion to giving back to the area he has called home for 32 years.
Hedlund has started five companies in the Winter Park and Fraser area including Home James, Mad Adventures, Mighty Upper Photography, Trail Blazers and Elevation Pizza.
Hedlund also devotes much of his time and efforts to a number of local nonprofits as well as community issues.
“If you want to grow a community you have to be involved,” he said.
Hedlund sits on the chair of close to a dozen nonprofits in the Fraser Valley, as well as heads his own nonprofit, the Oslo Foundation, which focuses its energy on early childhood education and social justice.
The entrepreneur and philanthropist learned at a young age it is important to give back to the community. “It’s a wonderful feeling to give back to the community as much as they have given to me,” he said.
Working with nonprofits in a leadership capacity is something Hedlund enjoys and takes pride. “I have a certain skill set that lends itself to providing leadership to nonprofits, and I enjoy that aspect to life in a valley like ours,” he said.
As if volunteering his time and operating a number of small businesses wasn’t enough, Hedlund also is an accomplished triathlete, ultra marathon runner, skier, and mountaineer and has traveled as far as the Himalayas to climb.
“The key to life is the balance between work and play and giving back,” Hedlund said. “That was instilled on me by my parents, that service before self, but you still have to take care of yourself.”
While Hedlund says he enjoys the picturesque beauty of the Fraser Valley and “skiing in the backyard,” he noted his favorite part about living in the Fraser Valley is the closeness of the community.
“We live in a very giving community and I feel apart of it,” he said. “It’s home for sure.”
Hedlud wants to see the community grow and prosper, but he doesn’t want to lose the small-town feel of the area.
“Economies are based on growth, but it has to be managed growth and balanced growth,” he said.
“Now is our time to live, love, and play.” he said.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334