Local liquor-law reformer lauded
They made fun of his looks, they called him cheap and one person even related a tale of how he’d made a young woman cry, but it was all in good fun as the Park City Chamber/Bureau presented Hans Fuegi with the 2009 Myles Rademan Spirit of Hospitality Award.
The honor was presented Thursday at the Chamber/Bureau’s annual convention held at Newpark Hotel.
Fuegi, owner of Grub Steak Restaurant, has served on numerous boards and committees ranging from open space, to Jazz music to tax grants during his almost 30 years in Park City.
His name has been praised more recently for his role in working with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to end mandatory private club memberships and the "Zion Curtain" in restaurants.
The Spirit of Hospitality Award was first given about seven years ago to Myles Rademan to recognize his work for the community, Chamber/Bureau president and CEO Bill Malone explained on Friday.
"(Rademan) just embodied the spirit of what we do here in our town in terms of entertaining guests," he explained.
The annual award goes to people who have embodied that spirit. Fuegi has always been a champion of that, Malone said, and has worked to keep in the minds of local government that that’s how our town prospers.
Past recipients also include Stein Eriksen, Brad Olch and Teri Orr.
Fuegi, originally from Switzerland, is honest about the fact that he came to Park City solely for the skiing in the winter of 1979-80. He liked the town, and stayed to become an entrepreneur.
Jan Wilking presented the award with Paul Brown and Julie Wilson. Wilking said Fuegi has had a significant impact on the community.
"He’s one of the hardest working individuals I know," he said. "He has a great deal of persistence and on the committees he has high goals."
In addition to being a restaurateur, Fuegi estimated that he’s served over 12 years on different boards and committees with the Chamber/Bureau, as well as with the Park City Jazz Foundation, the Park City Restaurant Association, the Utah Restaurant Association, the commission that issues restaurant tax grants, the State Board of Tourism Development and more.
Accepting the award, Fuegi said he knew back in 1980 that Park City was a special place because he liked the skiing. But he said he stayed for the community.
"It was the people that kept me here," he said.
He also said he’s received many returns over the years for his service.
"It’s not a one-way street. I really feel I’ve gotten as much out of it as I’ve put in," he said.
He included in that the number of lasting friendships he’s made. Unfortunately, those came back to bite him Thursday as he was repeatedly teased for his "Swiss" cheapness, perfectionism and critical nature.
Fuegi said in an interview that what drives him is a commitment to providing the best product possible whether that’s a beef steak or a decision to be made by committee.
"Part of it is wanting to be a good citizen. I still consider myself a guest here. I’ve earned a good living. A small part of giving back is participating," he said.
It was difficult for Fuegi to say why he serves.
"I think it’s part of living and owning a business in a small town," he said. "This is a very giving, tight-knit group of people involved here.
Lastly, Fuegi said his staff deserves his appreciation because he would never have been able to sacrifice all that time serving on boards or committees if he wasn’t able to completely trust his employees to keep everything running smoothly.
"I have to give credit to some very capable and loyal employees that allow me to be away to participate," he said.
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