I’ve had a rather huge week. I was nominated for the Chamber’s Spirit of Sheridan award a few months ago and, glorious luck, I won! It was so completely unexpected that I didn’t even invite my husband to the luncheon. I barely mentioned it in passing other than to tell my family that I was up for a Major Award (Christmas Story movie reference).

Described as, “honoring a business or individual who volunteers countless hours for the betterment of the Chamber and Sheridan County: one who demonstrates vision, ambition and drive to serve the community and the mission of the Chamber, understanding a community thrives when those in it invest and contribute to its success,” the Spirit of Sheridan award is pretty awesome. I also felt it was way out of my league.

Given the pantheon of other nominees, I shouldn’t have had a chance. Joanne Garnett (CVC board member, Chamber ambassador and community planner), Sasha Johnston (one of the most involved and generous people I know), Steve Maier (started the CVC as president at Sheridan College and retired county commissioner), and Jack Wood (realtor, enthusiastic Chamber ambassador and huge supporter of the Welch Cancer Center in memory of his daughter) were my fellow nominees. Are you kidding me? Fuhgeddaboutit. It really was an honor to even be nominated amongst that crew.

Nevertheless, against all odds, I ended up as the one clutching the plaque and having her photo taken. Wow!

Fortunately, the Spirit of Sheridan was the first award given so we were off the hot seat quickly. That meant I was able to fully appreciate the breadth and depth of talent, volunteerism, dedication, innovation, tenacity and creativity, which abounds in Sheridan County.

As the nominee’s description was read, each more impressive than the last, it seemed impossible that a choice could be made amongst them. Kennon vs. Black Tooth Brewing Co. vs. Sheridan Media vs. Bighorn Design Studio vs. Wyoming Roofing? All of them have grown exponentially; invested in their employees and infrastructure; and give back to the community at every turn. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

This was the way each award went — there was no clear winner because they were all so incredible. I know that as a Chamber member, I must have voted for one of them in each category but honestly, I could have closed my eyes and chosen. There were no bad options.

Fortunately for those in attendance, award winners were not given the opportunity to make an acceptance speech. Those of you reading this will not be so lucky nor will you have an orchestra available to play me off. I’ll keep it short though.

I am humbled and honored to have been nominated for this award, much less chosen. It’s easy to be involved when it’s something you love and I truly love Sheridan County. This place has allowed me to reach for goals I didn’t even know I had, and achieve them when I was sure there was no chance. I am surrounded by greatness and I aspire to be like those who were also nominated in all the Awards of Excellence.

Thank you to Mary Jo and Wendy for this ultimate compliment and to everyone who voted for me. Finally, to my family, friends and coworkers who were not as surprised at the award as I was, you are my best cheerleaders. (I gracefully exit blowing air kisses to the crowd.)

 

Amy Albrecht is the executive director of the Center for a Vital Community.