Rotary Club names prolific volunteers, 30-year County staffer Citizens of the Year |

Rotary Club names prolific volunteers, 30-year County staffer Citizens of the Year

From left, 2019 Citizens of the Year winners Anita Lewis and Lorraine Stuecken, Rotary Club President Colin DeFord and selection committee chair Bob Richer.
(Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

Club honors past winners

Rotarian Bob Richer took the opportunity to recognize three past Citizens of the Year at Tuesday’s ceremony: Bea Kummer, Nan McPolin and Jack Dozier.

Kummer was named the first Rotary Club Citizen of the Year in 1981, Richer said, citing a Park Record story about her in which she said she hoped Park City never loses the spirit of giving, helping and working together.

McPolin, the 1986 recipient for whom McPolin Elementary is named, received joy through her community involvement, Richer said.

And Dozier, who won in 1990, was a Marine with a gruff voice who exemplified professionalism, courtesy and respect.

“He was a gentleman who always handled himself with dignity,” Richer said, though he may have used his boot camp experience to scare a few kids straight in his role as Park City High School Principal.

The Park City Rotary Club for nearly 40 years has recognized area residents for outstanding civic service by naming them Citizens of the Year.

Rotarian Bob Richer, the chair of the selection committee, likened it to a hall-of-fame induction.

“We do this to pay tribute to great citizens of the community, past and present,” Richer said. “If you look at the names on the plaques, it truly is a Who’s Who of the last 39 years of Park City and Summit County history.”

On Tuesday, three people joined the ranks of those who have been recognized for helping shape the community: former assistant county manager Anita Lewis and career volunteers Lorraine and the late Wally Stuecken.

Lewis was named the professional citizen of the year, and the Steuckens the volunteer citizens of the year. Wally Stuecken died in February and was remembered fondly at the ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

Rotarians have been naming a citizen of the year since 1981 and in 1991 started the professional citizen category to recognize those who, in the course of doing their jobs, are going above and beyond normal expectations to serve and contribute to the community, Richer said.

The Rotary Club hosted the annual celebration, with speakers recalling the recipients’ impact on the community from a podium as the 100 or more attendees enjoyed lunch.

Lewis was lauded for her success in various roles for the county in her 30-year career, including helping newly elected officials transition into their role. In the later stages of her career, she was appointed assistant manager for rural affairs, making official her longstanding role as a bridge between East Side and Snyderville Basin interests.

The Stueckens Stueckenwere recognized as ubiquitous volunteers for at least 20 organizations since moving to town permanently in 2006. Their positivity was infectious, the crowd was told, and they would often get involved with families they encountered through their volunteer work, offering rides or taking kids on ski trips.

Richer explained that the recipients are selected for the length and breadth of their service to the community.

“These are people who are really dedicated to what is our Rotary motto, which is service above self,” he said.

Anita Lewis

Lewis retired earlier this year after decades working for Summit County, a time that saw massive growth, a transition to a new form of government and a shift in political power from its traditional East Side base toward the Snyderville Basin.

And she was in the middle of it, recalled Sally Elliott, a former County Commissioner who was later elected a County Councilor after the form of government changed.

“Anita was the absolute key to the effective governance of Summit County,” Elliott said.

When Richer called to tell her she’d be receiving the award, Lewis said she was behind the wheel.

“I was so shocked, it was a good thing there wasn’t a lot of traffic,” Lewis said. “I just almost stopped right in the middle of the freeway, I was so surprised. It’s such an honor.”

Throughout her time with the county, Lewis remained unflappable, a source of positivity and bottomless institutional knowledge, Elliott said.

“She always had a big smile on her face, regardless of the gravity of the moment,” Elliott said. “And her smile was very reassuring.”

Lewis helped every new elected official from County Councilor to assessor find their way, Elliott said, a point echoed by Richer, himself a former County Commissioner, and Tom Fisher, the current county manager.

Richer described Lewis as friendly and outgoing, always with a calm demeanor and never ruffled.

He said Lewis was nominated for the honor by 15 people.

Elliott lauded her leadership style, kindness of spirit and willingness to accept every person she encountered.

“She trusted people to give her their best,” Elliott said. “When you know that the person you’re talking with trusts you and appreciates your viewpoint, you’re going to give back that trust.”

Wally and Lorraine Stuecken

Rob Harter, the executive director of the Christian Center of Park City, recalled Wally Stuecken as a storyteller who would pop into his office after taking care of the flowers out front, coffee in hand and armed with at least one joke.

“They’re people with boundless energy,” Harter said of the Stueckens. “It felt like every time I turned around they were volunteering somewhere, planting gardens, pulling weeds, doing recycling, riding their bikes around town.”

After relocating to Park City on a full-time basis in 2006, the Stueckens quickly became full-time volunteers.

Richer said the list of organizations the Stueckens helped stretches to more than 20. It includes Park City Hospital, Peace House, Christian Center of Park City and the National Ability Center.

“They were people that I would say were very willing to be on the front lines and help with all these different organizations and help in all these different ways,” he said. “Whenever you go to an event at the Park City Institute, there they were handing out programs. When you went to a Deer Valley symphony, there they were handing out programs.”

Katie Wright, executive director of the Park City Community Foundation, recalled noticing the Stueckens for the first time when she saw them volunteering at three organizations on the same day.

“They find absolute joy and, frankly, bring a lot of joy to people, by volunteering and serving at many, many nonprofits in our community,” Wright said. “They do this because they really are optimistic about the future (and) believe the world can be better for all people. The way to make a better Park City is by jumping in and serving.”

Wright described how excited Lorraine Stuecken gets about her involvement in local organizations like the Women’s Giving Fund, telling people in other communities how her group of 1,000 women had raised $1 million.

Wally Stuecken died in February at 84, six days before the couple’s 61st wedding anniversary, according to his obituary. He spent his career in Detroit working in the auto industry, but, perhaps notably for a man of his generation, Wright said that Wally was mindful that not everybody had the same advantages he did.

“He noticed and advocated that not everyone, like women and people of color, were always given the same opportunities,” she said. “That was something he fought for.”

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