Jazz music played and candles and leaves decorated the tables on a brisk November night when community and Draper Chamber of Commerce members came together at Millennial Falls to honor those who embody the best of Draper.
City Councilmember and Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Rappleye was the master of ceremonies for the event which was the 19th annual event of its kind in Draper. Rappleye said it became the “Community Spirit Awards” because of the late Sgt. Derek Johnson.
“This is the first year it was called the (Community) Spirit Awards. We wanted to add something more to it and spirit of service is what Derek was known for,” Rappleye said. Previously, it was called the Community Awards.
Draper Historical Society volunteer Ron Smith took home top honors as the Draper Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.
Local Draper Historical Society volunteer Ron Smith took home the Draper Chamber Citizen of the Year award. Rappleye described Smith as a “brilliant” engineer who has “a great, big heart.” He said Smith played a huge role in Draper’s historic Fitzgerald Cabin, including moving the structure to its current site near the library from where it had been on the south side of Draper Park. That move put the 163-year-old cabin very near to where it originally sat, and Smith helped to repair the cabin and build a foundation for it in the process. Smith also volunteers at the historical society’s museum and he has written grant applications for the organization.
“I really just saw how much he quietly does, and so, I wanted to recognize that service,” Rappleye said.
The Derek Johnson Memorial Police Officer of the Year award went to Officer Jeremy Barnes. Barnes is the student resource officer at Corner Canyon High School and he was the 2012 DARE Officer of the Year.
Deputy Chief John Eining said Barnes is a mentor to other DARE officers in Utah and that he helped research and apply for the federal grant that has funded two SROs in Draper, one at the high school and the other working with local middle schools.
“The commitment that it takes to work with the students, mentor these kids, it takes the right personality. This gentleman does a fine job. He’s a pleasure to be around....well deserved,” Eining said.
Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts said that the Chamber’s police officer award is centered on the principle of service to the community.
“He’s really establishing that relationship that’s so important between our youth and our officers,” Roberts said of Barnes.
“I do it because I have a passion for the youth of the community to stay on track,” Barnes said when he was honored.
Captain Anne “Sande” Storms was chosen by the Unified Fire Authority as Draper Firefighter of the Year. Storms has been with UFA for 25 years and is a member of Salt Lake County Search and Rescue. Storms plays the bagpipes, a talent she has shared at various Salt Lake County functions, including having played at funerals and memorials of fallen police officers and firefighters.
“What a skill,” said Rappleye when he thanked Storms for her service as a firefighter.
The Chamber honored Utah Transit Authority as the Business Economic Leader and Advocate of the Year. The Peggy Smith Group for Doterra Essential Oils was named Chamber Business of the Year, and Steve Price of Price Realty Group was honored as the Chamber’s Member of the Year.
Rappleye described Price as, “the quietest power house I’ve ever seen.”
Mayor Troy Walker thanked those in attendance for their contributions to the community.
“We’re going to see tremendous growth that will make us the premiere city in this state,” he said.
Lone Peak Hospital, Marriott Music and Millennial Falls sponsored the awards gala, along with Swire Coca Cola and Sweet Arleen’s.