Former U.S. Ski and Snowboard spokesman Tom Kelly honored with hospitality award
Tom Kelly was first told that he was going to be honored with the Myles Rademan Spirit of Hospitality Award at a Rotary club meeting in the spring. Rademan, a former high-ranking City Hall official who held an influential role during the 1990s boom years and the 2002 Winter Olympic era, approached Kelly and asked, “What are you doing on July 23?”
At the time, Kelly had plans to spend time in his home state of Wisconsin. But when he heard the news, he immediately switched his travel itinerary.
Kelly, who recently stepped down as vice president of communications for Park City-based U.S. Ski and Snowboard, was presented with the award during the Park City Chamber/Bureau’s annual meeting on July 23. He was the 16th individual to be recognized with the honor, which is given annually to a person in the area that has helped build or maintain a successful resort community.
Rademan honored Kelly on stage by highlighting the knowledge and passion Kelly had for his work as a spokesperson for U.S. Ski and Snowboard for more than 30 years. He said that Kelly served as a link between Park City and the competitive skiing and snowboarding world, particularly when the Olympics were taking place.
In an interview after the event, Rademan said that Kelly made Park City a better place because of his welcoming attitude and the work he did as an “ambassador” for the town.
“He introduced the world to Park City, but he also introduced Park City to the world,” Rademan said. “He was really instrumental in putting us on the map and giving us that kind of global feel.”
Kelly told stories of the U.S. athletes regularly on the local radio station KPCW and in his Behind the Gold columns in The Park Record.
Trisha Worthington, who worked with Kelly since 1997, agreed that Kelly played a role in boosting interest in the Olympic team.
“For years he has enhanced our community’s passion for the Olympics by sharing his experiences of traveling with the team,” she said.
KPCW news director Leslie Thatcher noted at the ceremony that Kelly’s regular reports about the team, and his voice, will be missed.
That was apparent as a packed room at the Park City Marriott stood to applaud Kelly before he took the stage.
Kelly said that he was initially hesitant about the recognition because he doubted he had played a key role in hospitality. But after looking at past recipients and thinking about the community as a whole, it started to make sense.
“It’s the same value that we have at U.S. Ski and Snowboard — that everybody is a part of it,” he said in an interview following the event. “Whether you are an accountant or a coach or a PR person, we are all a part of the collective success of the organization.”
Uniting as a community or organization is something that Kelly has taught through his work and his public speeches since coming to Park City in the late 1980s.
“If a community works together, there is nothing they can’t accomplish,” he said.
He said that involving the ski team in Park City helped bring the community together, since a sense of pride for the team that emerged.
Before stepping down from the podium, he urged the crowd to remain united because he believes community spirit will ultimately make Park City an even better place to live, work and visit.
“You are all represented as one community. As you leave today, think about what gives you pride about being a Parkite,” he said. “That is the real spirit of hospitality.”
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