Chamber names Byers citizen of year

Jamie Hamilton accepts the 2014 Business of the Year award for Home Loan from the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce during Friday’s banquet at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Tm Ray, general manager of the Grand Junction Rockies, accepts the 2014 Small Business of the Year award from the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce during the organization’s annual banquet Friday at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Bill Byers smiles at the audience before accepting the Grand Juncton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award during the Chamber’s annual banquet Friday at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce named a good neighbor who stands up for his friends the 2014 Citizen of the Year.

Bill Byers, a lifelong resident of the Grand Valley, was honored based on numerous testimonials and a long list of leadership credentials during a banquet Friday at Two Rivers Convention Center.

“Wow, this blows me away,” Byers said, choking with emotion. “Thank you so much. I love this community ... and I love the Grand Junction Chamber.”

A selection committee portrayed Byers as someone who “has your back, is a good neighbor, a good friend and someone who works to make Mesa County a better place to live.”

Byers is a current member of the Fruita Chamber of Commerce and sits on Colorado Mesa University President’s Advisory Council. He is also active in leadership roles within his church and the Republican Party. He previously served as chairman of the board for the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and as chairman of the trustees for Family Health West.

Several other awards were bestowed by incoming board chairman Greg Motz and outgoing chairman Michael Burke, who both spoke at length to a crowd of about 800 in attendance.

GJ Rockies Baseball was named 2014 Small Business of the Year.

“The organization is a relative newcomer to the Grand Junction business community and most people focus on the amazing entertainment venue that is now available to area residents and tourists, but this minor league baseball team is different in that it sees itself as part of the community with a responsibility to give back,” the chamber said in news release.

From baseball camps for area youth in January to purchasing baseball and softball uniforms for area high schools, the GJ Rockies are engaged, the chamber said. 

The Rockies are committed to making an annual monetary gift to the NJCAA World Series played each year in Grand Junction. The money is earmarked for a capital building and remodel plan for Suplizio Field. 

Business of the Year for 2014 is Home Loan.

It was the second time the chamber recognized Home Loan’s contributions to the community. It was also recognized as Business of the Year in 1993. Since then, Home Loan has increased its employment and created a foundation that gave more than $1.2 million to 57 different charities and organizations.

Evan Walton of FCI Constructors was named 2014 Young Professional of the Year. A graduate of the 2011-2012 Mesa County Leadership Class, Walton is membership director of the Grand Junction Lions Club, Board Member of Associated Builders and Contractors and a member of SCRUBS at St. Mary’s Hospital.

A silent auction raised $8,500 and a live auction raised $10,000, all of which will go to support the Mesa County Leadership program and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.


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