Women honored for service to community
Park City Rotary Club recognizes citizens
Two local women were honored on Wednesday for their extraordinary efforts in preserving open space throughout the Wasatch Back.
Wendy Fisher, executive director of Utah Open Lands, and Cheryl Fox, executive director of the Summit Land Conservancy, were recognized alongside Carol Loomis, board president of PC Tots, on Tuesday at a luncheon hosted by the Park City Chapter of Rotary International for their service to the community.
For the first time, Park City Rotary recognized two people for the Professional Citizen of the Year Award, named in honor of Linda Singer-Berrett, one of Park City Rotary’s first female members and president.
Fisher and Fox were considered instrumental in raising $13 million from private donors and government entities toward the $38 million purchase of Bonanza Flat.
According to Rotarian Bob Richer, chairman of the Citizen of the Year committee, former Rotary President Jim Hier said the following: “While Wendy and Cheryl both do exemplary jobs acquiring and protecting our valuable open space every year, it seems more than fitting that we honor both of these environmentalist, this year, for their efforts to raise funds and awareness for the Bonanza Flat open space acquisition.”
Joe Cronley, president of the Summit Land Conservancy’s board of directors who spoke on behalf of Fox, said the conservancy has more than 3,000 acres under easements for conserved land, including Quarry Mountain and Round Valley.
“Some of the qualities that make Cheryl so special and deserving of this award are her high energy and passion for what she does. Her collaborations with other nonprofits. The vision she has – she is a true visionary,” Cronley said. “Bonanza Flat was certainly one of those great things that came from all of those qualities.
“… Coalitions of nonprofits are better with Cheryl Fox. Open space is better with Cheryl Fox. Summit Land Conservancy is better with Cheryl Fox and Park City is better with Cheryl Fox,” he said.
Debi Scoggan, a former member of the conservancy’s board of directors who also paid tribute to Fox, said in the 20 years she has known her she has never seen her “shy away from risk or grow less passionate about her ideas. She is insanely optimistic.”
Fox, who was accompanied at the luncheon by her two daughters, husband and mother, said the award is not only a huge honor, but even more special because she gets to share it with Fisher.
“The effort to save Bonanza Flat was widespread…It was the support of hundreds of people that made it happen. In recognizing me today you are also recognizing all those people who worked alongside us and stood alongside us. This award honors people who did their job really well,” Fox said.
Fox also discussed her battle with breast cancer between February and May, commending her colleagues for stepping in while she underwent surgery. She thanked her family and the community.
“Thank you for validating all that hard work, the long hours, the delicate conversations and the organization’s investment that saved Bonanza Flat,” Fox said.
Sally Elliott, former city and county councilor who has known Fisher for more than 30 years, added to the accolades.
“I am so proud and so pleased we had the good sense to keep her with us for so many years. She is sort of a jack-of-all trades. She is not a lawyer, not a land planner. She is a little bit of everything we have every needed and she has put together the most amazing organization,” Elliott said. “In Summit County alone we have 12,300 acres under easement with Wendy and Utah Open Lands, which is mind boggling to me because we started with 191.”
Fisher, who joined Utah Open Lands in 1990 as an intern, said she was “incredibly honored and incredibly humbled” to receive the award.
“As I look around the room there are so many of you that were involved early on,” Fisher said. “I think the thing I keep coming away from, with respect to Utah Open Lands, is there are things like 109 acres that was protected way back when that became the first part of the Swaner Nature Preserve… .From my perspective this is not about one person. This is really about the amazing work of so many people in this community. We have not just shaped Park City, but we have led the discussion on conservation throughout the state of Utah.”
Richer referred to the second award recipient for the volunteer citizen category, Loomis, as the “founder, creator, executive director, bottle washer, financier, builder and chief cook for PC Tots.” The Volunteer Citizen of the Year award is named after Jack Green, Park City mayor from 1978 to 1986, who helped guide Park City through its formative years as a resort destination.
Loomis helped establish PC Tots, a non-profit and affordable child care center for working parents in Park City.
“Carol and Scott Loomis have been fantastic citizens of our community since they arrived in 1998,” Richer said.
Christina Sally, an investigator with the Summit County Children’s Justice Center, said Loomis has been a “dear friend, inspiration and mentor.”
Ollie Wilder, community impact director of the Park City Community Foundation, praised Loomis for her dedication to education and providing affordable child care in Park City.
He acknowledged the long hours she put in to bring PC Tots, which provides child care for more than 100 families, to fruition. Several children from PC Tots attended the luncheon to thank Loomis.
“If you’re not convinced yet that Carol is amazing, she and Scott got married in 1998 and about a year later Scott’s nephew found himself an orphan. Without any hesitation, they adopted his nephew. When they looked around to find a place to raise this child they said, ‘Park City is the place to do that.’
“It was out of an act of love that they arrived in Park City and we are so grateful for the acts of love that Carol continues to offer all of the time,” he said.
At the luncheon, Loomis sat next to her husband Scott, executive director of Mountainlands Community Housing Trust and 2010 recipient of the Professional Citizen of the Year award.
Loomis recalled how the parent of a PC Tots child had mistaken her for a property manager because of all the time she spent working with the property.
“This is just such a day of gratitude,” Loomis said. “… It has been an incredible thing to have such a great support system. I want to thank the Park City Rotary not only for this incredible honor, but for that very, very generous gift that you gave to PC Tots.”