Former Zions Bank executive Becky Kearns honored with annual hospitality award
At ceremony, friends laud her contributions to Park City
July 14, 2017
When Russ Olsen was diagnosed with cancer, Becky Kearns, a longtime friend who had battled — and beaten — the disease twice herself, was one of the first people who called.
On Wednesday, at a ceremony honoring Kearns as the recipient of the 2017 Myles Rademan Spirit of Hospitality Award, Olsen explained what her support meant. Over the course of his treatments and surgeries, he said, she called, texted or e-mailed nearly every week. Then, when his wife was later diagnosed as well, Kearns did the same thing.
"That's Becky Kearns," said a smiling Olsen, who is the CEO of Stein Eriksen Lodge.
Olsen was one of multiple people who took to the podium to describe how Kearns — who helped shape Park City through her work as an executive at Zions Bank as well as her numerous charitable efforts — has changed both their lives and the broader community.
To Pat Putt, another longtime friend, one of Kearns' most incredible traits is knowing what the community needs long before anyone else. The Park City Hospital was one example, he said. While many — including Putt — were skeptical of the idea that the town needed its own medical center, Kearns continued for years to push for it. She didn't stop until it emerged from the hillside in Quinn's Junction.
"She was the one who, with a small group of others, was able to take an idea … and make it a reality," said Putt, who is now chairman of the hospital's governing board. "It was her passion and her caring that brought about the Park City Hospital."
Kearns, sitting with family and friends, wiped away tears through much of the ceremony. In an interview beforehand, she said she was shocked and gratified to learn she had been chosen as the recipient of the annual award, which in the past has been given to other community icons such as Jana and Gary Cole, Bob Richer, Bill Marolt and its namesake, Rademan.
"As always when you receive things like this, it's humbling," she said. "It's an honor because Myles Rademan has been a friend of mine for a very long time, and the people that have received this award in the past are also all friends. To be considered in that crowd is an honor, to say the least."
For Andy Garland, who also spoke about Kearns at the ceremony, she was the perfect choice for the honor. He began his speech by quoting a line from a George Bernard Shaw play later made famous by Robert F. Kennedy: "Some people see things as they are and say, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'"
In her time in Park City, through battles against cancer, a push for a hospital and countless other efforts, Kearns has exemplified the latter, Garland said.
"It would have been really easy for Becky to disappear when she was fighting cancer, but she didn't," he said. "Because Becky believed. Becky questioned the why not. Becky has never shied away from anything she believes in."
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