A true Aspenite | AspenTimes.com

A true Aspenite

Dear Editor:

The following tribute to the volunteer of the year was prepared by a much better writer than I for the recent presentation at the Wheeler Opera House.

This year’s amazing volunteer has embraced life in Aspen and contributes to it in many ways, from his involvement as a steward of open space to the countless task forces he has served upon.

This year’s volunteer of the year is one of the original members of the open space board and has served for more than eight years. His strong financial background and professionalism has been incredibly beneficial to the board’s budget responsibilities, but any of his fellow board members will attest to his wonderful sense of humor.

While on the open space board, he has helped to advocate for and acquire more than 663 acres of open space, as well as pioneer 20 new pedestrian trail projects.

But perhaps his open space involvement is surpassed by his nordic council involvement, because our volunteer of the year has served on that council for more than 20 years.

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He was instrumental in the creation of the Nordic Trails Master Plan and the reauthorization of the voter-approved Pitkin County mill levy, which ensures a solid funding base for the nordic trails operation. He is the inspiration for numerous trail connections, but he also gets his hands dirty. He helped with the planting of more than 50 trees on the Aspen Golf Course.

One of his latest ways of contributing to Aspen is by serving on the city’s financial advisory board. He has used his extensive financial background and knowledge to advise the city on the Wheeler expansion project, financial policies and the 2010 and 2011 budgets, which, as you may know, is not an easy task in a recession.

But perhaps the best description of what makes this year’s volunteer of the year – Howie Mallory – so special is his ability to bring civic engagement out of City Hall and put it squarely in the laps of citizens.

As a fellow nordic council board members said: “Howie lives and breathes his civic engagement and this community. His thoughtful, creative problem-solving to challenges faced by our community doesn’t end in the meeting room or the public forum, it extends nightly to the dinner table. An evening around the Berko/Mallory table isn’t complete without Howie first opening the encyclopedia for a reference or historical tidbit and second, introducing a current city debate for thorough discussion and the pondering various solutions. Howie is observant, not complacent, and likes to share examples from other towns as to how to enhance and protect the Aspen experience. It is no surprise that Howie founded the Community Banks Community Touch Program – it embodies his core values, giving back to a community he cares so deeply about.”

We are honored to have a citizen such as Howie Mallory in this community.

Mick Ireland

mayor, acting for the Aspen City Council

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