Chamber awards a surprise for some, honor for all
Mary Gonzales didn’t know whether to feel mad or elated when she first learned she had been named the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s citizen of the year.
But she certainly felt surprised.
Gonzales was named citizen of the year along with her husband, Jerome Gonzales, during Friday night’s annual Chamber banquet at Two Rivers Convention Center. Both recipients had been told days before the banquet that their spouse was the sole recipient of the award.
“You’re tricky,” Mary Gonzales joked as she accepted the award. “I’m very honored.”
Mary Gonzales founded Riverside Educational Center in 2007 and is the center’s co-executive director. Jerome Gonzales owns JG Management Systems Inc., a company that ranked 137th on a list of the top 250 Colorado companies in 2011 based on gross income in 2010. The company donates at least 5 percent of its profits to charitable causes each year.
“I’m just an extension of what we tried to create,” Jerome Gonzales said of his business.
He encouraged banquet attendees to make a difference, even a small one, in others’ lives.
Denny Granum also called the award he received Friday night, a lifetime achievement award, an honor. Granum is president of Monument Realty and was a founder and the first fundraising chairman of the organization that became the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.
He serves on the partnership’s board and the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority Board and has served as chairman of the chamber and president of the Lions Club.
“It’s been a great run, and I can’t tell you what this means,” Granum said.
Impact Promotions won the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year award, while West Star Aviation took home the Business of the Year award.
West Star Aviation employs 300 people and supports the valley through sponsorships of the St. Mary’s Hospital bloodmobile, the 2011 Colorado Writes Forum, Palisade’s Olde Fashioned Christmas synthetic ice rink, Western Slope Honor Flights and the Grand Junction Air Show.
Impact Promotions sells promotional products ranging from tote bags to humidors. The 32-year-old company is family-owned and employs 15 people.
Past Business of the Year recipients selected the company for Small Business of the Year because Impact Promotions has provided more than $200,000 in discounts and donations over the past six years to support community organizations and events, and it supports athletics, nonprofit agencies, youth and charities in the Grand Valley, including 4-H, School District 51, Colorado Mesa University, Relay for Life and Marillac Clinic.