5 to receive governor's medal as outstanding Coloradans


Five Coloradans will receive the Governor’s Citizenship Medal at a gala Oct. 11 at History Colorado, the same night the state museum unveils Owens-Hickenlooper Gallery.

Current Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Gov. Bill Owens will be in attendance, according to the Quarterly Forum, who runs the fellowship program launched by the state’s former governors to encourage civic participation and provide training for up-and-comers.

The Owens-Hickenlooper Gallery features past and present community “heroes,” including the gala’s honorees, say organizers.

The 500-seat gala is sold out, but tickets remain for the “QF After Dark” after party with the Colorado band Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

This year’s medal recipients are:

The state accolade is inspired by the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States, according to the Quarterly Forum.

Monica Owens Beauprez, the daughter of the former governor and the co-founder of Denver-based Westbrooke Group, handled planning and fundraising for the event to support the civic program to spot and train emerging leaders.

“Proud to be working with Ryan Heckman and Quarterly Forum to honor these citizens who have helped make Colorado such a great place to live and raise a family,” she told Colorado Politics Wednesday.

The forum provided bios of this year’s honorees.

Dana CrawfordAn award-winning preservationist, Crawford initiated a concept of urban renewal that was a first of its kind in the United States. She pioneered the redevelopment of Denver’s historic Larimer Square in the mid-1960s. She has gone on to redevelop more than a million square feet of historic property in the city of Denver. In July 2014, Union Station Alliance opened the 125,000 square foot, $54 million revitalization of the Denver Union Station transit hub. That same year she received the Urban Land Institute’s Legacy Award for initiating Union Station’s reclamation plus decades of development which have redefined Denver. In addition to her redevelopment projects, Dana has also been a consultant to many cities and towns wishing to rejuvenate and reactivate their downtown areas.

Russell GeorgeGeorge served as president of Colorado Northwestern Community College, with campuses in Rangely and Craig, from 2010 to 2017. From 2007 to 2010, He was Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter’s executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. In 2004 he was Republican Gov. Bill Owens’ choice as executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. From 2000 to 2004, George was director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He served four terms in the Colorado House of Representative from 1992 through 2000. From 1976 until 2000, George practiced law in the firm of Stuver and George, PC., in Rifle. He is a graduate of Rifle High School, Colorado State University and Harvard Law School.

George has been named Water Leader of the Year by the Colorado Water Education Foundation and the Rams Juris Doctor CSU Career Distinction in Law award. The Colorado State University Institute for Learning and Teaching has named a portion of its facility as the Russell George Great Hall. Russ currently serves as trustee and chairman of the Boettcher Foundation and as trustee or director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Western Colorado Community Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation.


Sara GebretsadikSara came to the United States when she was 10 years old from Ethiopia. Leaving her life for one she knew nothing about was the greatest risk she had ever taken in her life thus far. Transitioning to the American lifestyle, while trying to hold on to her beloved culture, was extremely difficult, especially when she began attending Denver South High School. She was co-president with her sister of a school club with a mission to spread self-love and positivity. For Sara, self-love was personal topic as she struggled with her identity when she first arrived in the United States. Feeling uncomfortable as if she stood out, Sara faced personal challenges accepting her past. For example, she especially disliked her natural hair for some time, which was heartbreaking as it was a symbol of home. She knew her experience was valuable to share with others who face similar challenges, so she joined a club called Rebel Buddies to serve a mentor to new students to support their transition into high school.

She was an active member in a multitude of extracurricular activities including, the Black Student Alliance, Minds Matter, varsity sports in Track and Cross Country, dance, and student government. These programs kept her involved at school, allowed her the opportunity to meet incredible people, and helped hone her skills. Sara volunteers regularly with Special Olympics, Balarat and the Denver Club of Humanities. She is now a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in business law.

Paul Major

Major has served as the president and CEO of the Telluride Foundation since its inception in June 2000. Major leads the Foundation’s multi-million-dollar development, grant-making, capacity building, initiatives and investment efforts. Prior to the Telluride Foundation, Major worked as the Director of Business Development for Booth Creek Ski Holdings six resorts. Major’s ski industry experience began in 1984 with the U.S. Ski Team in Park City, Utah. He served as the vice president of Athletics and Alpine Olympic ski coach, directing and managed all athletic aspects of the 6 Olympic sports of the U.S. Ski Team including 200 athletes, 60 staff and 50,000 members.

He is a board member of the Caring for Colorado Foundation and EPIC (Executive Partnering for Investment in Children), Founding Member of the Entrepreneurship Funders Network, co-Founder of the Telluride Venture Accelerator and a general partner of the Telluride Venture Fund LP. He is formally a board member of Mobile Accord Inc., Colorado Association of Funders and the Council on Foundation’s Community Foundation Committee and chaired the Technology Task Force.

G.E. Johnson

For more than half a century, GE Johnson has been dedicated to enriching our communities by leading and building projects with the best people and ideas. A commercial contractor dedicated to delivering unmatched results and a remarkable project experience, GE Johnson is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has five regional offices. Having completed more than $8 billion in construction projects across 12 states to date, we embrace the power of ingenuity and trusting relationships, and value integrity, safety, collaboration and excellence.

Founded upon a legacy of giving back, GE Johnson invests our time and talent in the communities where we work, forming lasting bonds. We support the arts, education, environment, health and human services, and sports and recreation through volunteerism, community engagement, and other contributions. Each year, GE Johnson supports hundreds of charities and causes and invests thousands of hours of employee volunteer time.

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