Markalunas given the Mace Award for her tireless service
Special to The Aspen Times
Ramona Markalunas was recently recognized for her many years of community service with the Greg Mace Award, a local effort aimed at honoring those who give selflessly to the Roaring Fork Valley.
This annual volunteer award was established in 1986 to honor the memory of Greg Mace, who exemplified the qualities of an outstanding community volunteer. He offered endless dedication to nonprofit organizations, was committed to improving the community, and demonstrated the characteristics of a positive role model for living a healthy lifestyle.
According to those in charge of handing out the award, Markalunas shares the same generous nature toward the community as Greg Mace.
“The most fun about winning the award was the stuff I did to get it,” said Markalunas, “I love to see the ghost towns preserved for future generations.”
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Markalunas recently marked her 44th year as a volunteer and community activist. She has been a trailblazer for women in Aspen’s politics, and a passionate advocate for historic preservation.
She has given her time to many local groups, such as the Music Associates of Aspen and the Aspen Chamber and Resort Association. She spearheaded such vital projects as the founding of the Historic Preservation Committee, which catalogs local historic structures and landmark buildings and strives to preserve them.
Markalunas was also a key person in the push to preserve and restore the ghost towns of Ashcroft and Independence, as well as the restoration of the Crystal mill.
Through her work with the Aspen Historical Society, many of the town’s homes and buildings were nominated for the National Register: The Wheeler Opera House, the Community Church, Wheeler-Stallard House, Pitkin County Courthouse, Ashcroft and the Redstone Inn.
In 1971, Markalunas became Aspen’s first female city council member. In her term in office she saw Aspen obtain its own water and electric departments, and acquire City Hall, the golf course and the Rio Grande property. She became secretary of the Aspen City Charter, which made Aspen the second Home Rule city in the state.
Markalunas is also a charter member and founding director of the Pitkin County Parks Association. She was vital to the preservation of Pioneer Park in the West End, and has helped to maintain Aspen Grove Cemetery, planting hundreds of daffodils.
She served as vice-president of the Western Slope Railroad Association and is a founding board member of the Independence Pass Foundation, which is dedicated to stabilizing and preserving the slopes and vegetation of the pass. She also is involved in organizing the annual “Ride for the Pass,” a fund-raising event that celebrated its fifth anniversary this year.
Markalunas says her plans for the future are to establish more affordable housing for senior citizens, to continue her work on Independence Pass, and to work to establish a light rail system in the valley.
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