The ‘Chamber’s Choice’ Man and Woman of the Year campaign winners are Tony Castro and Reba Jean Hall. The purpose of the campaign is aimed at bringing together Page’s small business community, charities, and citizens.
Scott Swank, Bank of the West branch manager and Vice President, founded the campaign when he inspired by an article published in the Lake Powell Chronicle about leukemia and the Cancer Society. The article gave Swank the idea for a way the business community could give back to the community and the charities within it.
The result was a contest for the ‘Man and Woman of the Year’ to raise the most money in a twelve week period. The candidates could choose a Non Profit 501c3 charity to give half of the money to. The other half of the money would go to the Chamber Page/Lake Powell to help propel local businesses.
Participation in the campaign brought in three candidates: Tony Castro, Reba Jean Hall and Judy Edwards. They were able to raise a total of $2500.00.
Tony Castro elected to rally support for the Faith Bible Church’s youth programs, namely their trip to Sri Lanka. Tony’s biggest supporter in his efforts were bank customers and the El Tapatio restaurant. El Tapatio allowed him to promote a dinner and 15 percent of the profit for the night was given to his non profit fund.
“Scott told me about the contest and what it was for, said Castro. “I told him I would definitely jump in. I’m all about helping the community. Here it’s such a small city that you can impact a lot of people. Here the community revolves and you don’t see that in a big city.”
Reba Jean Hall chose to donate her portion to the Page Youth Football League. The donation of over $700.00 will cover new uniforms, equipment and traveling expenses to away games. She overheard her boss, Swank, talking about the campaign and thought it would be a great opportunity to see the kids in the league get an upgrade. Most of Hall’s donation came from from the people she sees everyday.
Her biggest support came from a person she calls the ‘Hay Guy’ who sells hay at the Big Lake location. “He didn’t hesitate. He was very open and supportive. She notes Pow Wow Trading Post and sales from frybread helped her efforts as well.
Judy Edwards chose the Cancer Outreach Thrift Store to raise money for. Though she was not an official winner in the Man and Woman of the year campaign, she has been honored for her fundraising activities in 2016 when Judy was awarded Humanitarian of the
Year. Edwards chose the Cancer Outreach Thrift Store because the loss of her father was due to cancer.
“When my father died we were fortunate that we lived in a place where the whole community helped,” she said. “But when I heard the story of a family spending the night in a van so they could afford the trip to get treatment, it really affected me. Some people actually choose not to get treatment because they can’t afford the trip.”
Judy gives to the Cancer Outreach or any charity she is able to donate her time and efforts to.
The Chamber Page/Lake Powell will utilize the $1250.00 to promote the small business community through education/scholarship programs and events, such as the Christmas OParade or the Holiday Home Tour.
“The candidates are the biggest supporters of this new thing.” says Swank. “This is a small town and a lot of people didn't understand what we were doing. People sometimes need to see what’s happening before they will participate. Overall we did good. We showcased the campaign to build a [foundation] for the future.”
Swank hopes to see an increase in new candidates next year. Because they have already won the award, Castro and Hall will not be able to be candidates again, but they will be able to mentor and help fundraise with other candidates in the future.
“With the pending economic change the city is coming into, we as community members could step up and encourage business growth,” said Swank. “Still, [we] could encourage a participation in local charities or any charities in general. The only way to make a change is to be part of the change.”