Butera named a Homegrown Hero
August 6, 2002
Aspen resident and philanthropist Dick Butera has been selected by GrassRoots TV as this year’s “HomeGrown Hero.” According to GrassRoots, the award is given to an individual who has made “a lasting impression on his community.”
“Aspen would be a very different place if he wasn’t here,” said John Masters, executive director of GrassRoots TV. “He has demonstrated that a developer can also be a caretaker.”
Butera worked on the development of Aspen’s East End and helped with the restoration of the Hotel Jerome.
Butera has made headlines in recent years by divvying up $100,000 among 10 teachers at the end of each school year. The teachers are selected by students and other teachers through Butera’s Distinguished Teacher’s Award program. He started this program by donating $1 million to the program, guaranteeing $10,000 for 10 teachers each year for 10 years.
He also supports the valley’s children through his annual sponsorship of the Aspen Rotary Club’s Ducky Derby, and he reached beyond the community during the Sept. 11 rescue efforts in New York City by opening his hotel in lower Manhattan to relief workers.
Butera was also instrumental in the eradication of Aspen’s mosquitoes through organic and environmentally sound pest control procedures in the North Star nature preserve.
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He is one of many recipients of the award. Past recipients include Lenny “Boogie” Weinglass, Bob Bowden, Rae McCarthy, Nick DeWolf, Houston Cowan, Bill Burwell, Charles Dale, Gerald Wendel, Hal Barnett, Bill Mitchell and Lita Heller.