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Irons and Moomaw receive top honors as Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year

The recipients of the annual awards for Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year were announced at Saturday night’s Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, with Joanne Irons and Janis Moomaw receiving the top honors.

Irons rounded out her collection of the Chamber’s plaques by adding Citizen of the Year to her resume (Irons took home Volunteer of the Year honors in 2006).

Since receiving the 2006 award, Irons has continued to work throughout the community in conjunction with a number of organizations.

Irons was a co-founder of Loaves and Fishes, founder of the Pagosa Springs Youth Center, is on the Archuleta County School District board, is a leader of the Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Program and is involved with the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, Special Olympics and the Pagosa Area Non-Profit Organization steering committee, among other non-profits.

In introducing Joanne Irons as the winner, Chamber Director Mary Jo Coulehan noted Irons’ involvement in the community philanthropically, economically and through lifestyle changes — emphasizing Irons’ work with programs that are geared toward the economically disadvantaged.

“When she institutes a new program, she never thinks of a payback for herself, just what it will mean to the recipients of the benefits of the program,” Coulehan said.

“I think when you get recognized for your passion it means a lot more than a paycheck or something that you have to do,” Irons said of her honor on Wednesday, “so it really is a heartfelt award and it just makes me feel good.”

Other nominees for the award included Norm Vance, Bob Moomaw, the Mounted Rangers and the Community United Wreath Makers.

The 2010 Volunteer of the Year is Janis Moomaw.

While perhaps most known for her work with Music in the Mountains (she served on the program’s Durango board of directors for four years, two as vice president and was chairman of the Pagosa Springs committee), Moomaw is also integral in bringing this summer’s Songwriter Symposium and Festival to Pagosa Springs and is part of the nonprofit Pavilion in Pagosa Springs.

In addition to her involvement with the arts, Moomaw served on the Chamber board (two years as president), chaired the Festival of Trees, is a board member for her homeowners’ association, Habitat for Humanity and Socorro (to build a senior living facility).

The Moomaws have also opened their home and indoor area to host many events for area organizations.

“This year’s winner is everywhere, all the time, in the capacity of board member, volunteer, fundraiser and contributor,” Coulehan said Saturday.

“It’s a real honor to have been chosen,” Moomaw said Wednesday, adding that, when she and Bob moved to Pagosa, they asked if it was difficult to get involved and were met with a warning to be careful or they would quickly be too involved. “We haven’t reached that point yet.”

Other nominees for Volunteer of the Year included Dawn Robel, Joan Ward, Gloria Smith, the Mounted Rangers and the Community United Wreath Makers.

For more information on the awards of the night, see Chamber News in this issue of The SUN.

randi@pagosasun.com