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Leaders from all over Jefferson County gathered to honor five of their peers who have spent a lifetime giving back to the county and its residents at the West Metro Chamber’s fourth annual Jefferson County Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The Chamber inducted Fran Baker, John Bandimere Jr., Steve Burkholder, Dr. Harriet Hall, Donald Tallman on April 24 at the Vista at Applewood Golf Course.
“We’re honoring five outstanding individuals here today,” said Pam Bales, president and CEO of the Chamber. “This is our first time under our new name and logo, which we hope will bring our work to a lot more people.”
Hosted by CBS4’s Dave Aguilera, the festival was not only a time to network with county leaders and organizers but celebrate the lasting effects these people have had.
“It’s incredible to be a part of this event,” said Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul, who was on hand to introduce Baker. “Not only has she touched the lives of people like myself, but our entire city and county.”
Get to know the five inductees here:
Who she is: Baker is the Executive Director of Enrichment for the Gold Crown Foundation. She oversees program development, community outreach and fundraising efforts.
She was a Title One Reading Teacher and Literacy Coach in Jeffco for nine years before Baker started to lead a needs assessment for the planning, designing and implementation of the Enrichment programs for the Gold Crown Foundation’s Field House.
She worked to develop the relationship with Jefferson County schools to establish programming during the school day, which has served thousands of students from neighboring elementary and middle schools.
In her spare time, Fran enjoys being outdoors, traveling and most of all, spending time with her husband Ray and their five children and nine grandchildren.
What she said: “We serve kids through athletic programs, and many of these kids haven’t found success in educational programs before. People ask what the secret is, and I say it is consistency, change and a positive attitude. Not only does this give the kids a bright future, but all of us one as well.”
John Bandimere Jr.
Who he is: For the past 60 years, Bandimere Jr. has been the driving force behind the successful Bandimere Speedway team as the second-generation owner and operator of the quarter-mile drag strip that bears his family’s name.
In 1958, his father and mother, John Sr. and Frances, founded the speedway west of Denver. Originally called the Safety Proving Grounds of America and built as a location for testing the limits of the automobile in a safe environment, especially for young people, the NHRA-sanctioned speedway is now known as “Thunder Mountain.”
Most recently, Bandimere’s official title became Chairman of the Board as well as CSO — Chief Spiritual Officer. He’s also been involved on multiple Jeffco boards, including the Guaranty Bank West Advisory Board, West Metro Chamber Board, National Hot Rod Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cherry Hills Community Church, and Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame Advisory Board.
What he said: “It’s a joy for me to be here celebrating 60 years, which is a time I never thought we’d reach. My heart is overwhelmed by all the relationships we’ve developed over the years. I’m especially grateful to my family, which has kept the speedway together and going for so long. I’m truly blessed.”
Who he is: Burkholder is a founding and current board member of the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) Jeffco. The organization’s mission is to positively impact school readiness and long-term learning for two-and three-year olds from high risk and vulnerable families. He is also a founding board member of a recently formed organization, the Jeffco Human Services Foundation, whose mission is “Moving from poverty to prosperity—- one child, one family at a time.”
Burkholder was also the Lakewood Mayor from 1999-2007. During his tenure, he was president of the Colorado Municipal League, was a member of the Metro Mayors Executive Committee and was the chair of numerous committees in the National League of Cities. He is also a past chairman of the board of the West Metro Chamber and the founding chairman of Leadership Jefferson County, now in its 35th year..
Burkholder grew up in metro Denver and moved to Lakewood in 1963. He and his wife, Anne, will celebrate 54 years of marriage this August and have two grown children as well as four grandchildren.
What he said: “I’ve had great opportunities to learn and experience, and it’s really highlighted the importance of being part of a community. We’re facing many challenges as a nation, and we have the opportunity every day to bring civility back to our lives and set an example. And there’s no better place to start doing that then in our county.”
Dr. Harriet Hall
Who she is: Hall’s defining contribution to the community has been her advocacy and commitment to making a difference in the lives of people with mental health disorders, their families and the community.
During her 34 years as Jefferson Center CEO and President, Hall has worked to reduce the stigma of mental illness, to bring the public’s attention to urgent matters of mental health and collaborated with government and business leaders to produce innovative changes for mental health care.
She also has created community partnerships that resulted in significant change in the community and the birth of innovative programs, a strong supporter of the community and has responded to emerging community needs. Within hours after the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School, under Harriet’s leadership, Jefferson Center mobilized resources and helped lead the mental health crisis response.
Hall lives in Arvada with her husband, Geoff. In her free time, she is an avid gardener and loves to travel with her husband.
What she said: Hall was unable to attend the event but David Goff, CFO of the center, spoke for her.
“People need mental health services not just in crises and in the aftermath, but every other day.”
Who he is: Tallman began his 13th year as Executive Director of the Colorado Railroad Museum in October and the museum has made great progress during his tenure.
Museum attendance has nearly doubled during his tenure, and the Museum’s budget has also grown by almost 70 percent. And the Colorado Railroad Museum is recognized as one of the foremost, independently-supported railroad museums in the country.
Tallman has worked closely with local and state tourism agencies to help them understand the important economic impact of tourist railroads and railway museums to the Heritage Tourism market. He is a community leader and serves on several Boards, including the Budget and Audit Committee for the City of Lakewood, the Membership Committee for the National Western Stock Show Association, the Golden Visitor Center Board and the Board of the Heritage Rail Alliance.
A professional singer, Tallman is in demand as a tenor and performs throughout the Denver metro area. He regularly performs the National Anthem at civic and professional sporting events throughout Colorado.
In his spare time, he enjoys climbing the mountains of Colorado as a member of the Colorado Mountain Club and cooking. He and several of his favorite recipes are featured in the cookbook “Denver Men in the Kitchen.”
What he said: “After 21 years, Jeffco is still one of my favorite places to bike, explore, shop and participate in the rich cultural offerings we have. It’s been amazing to work to bring the Colorado Railroad Museum to people and draw in people from all over the country. We are now one of the most well-respected railroad museums in the country.”
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