Since 2001, the library has partnered with the Eagle County Historical Society to recognize individuals whose work has helped preserve the history of Eagle County through the Nimon-Walker Award.
When I took over our Local History department, I remember thinking, How can the library give such a specific award every year? There’s really someone in the area every single year that has done something amazing for local history? Wait, that many people are interested in local history?
The answer became very clear: a resounding yes.
Few communities of this size can support a library, let alone annual award events, programming from nationally-renowned writers and speakers, and everything in between. But this valley has all of that and more.
This is a place where residents can trace their heritage to hardy travelers that arrived in a covered wagon to homestead after the Civil War; a place where families have been born and raised in the same home, on the same ranch, generation after generation. It is a unique area that continues to proudly represent a bygone era and lifestyle. Remembering that this is not a small effort, but an important one.
I nominated our Nimon-Walker Award event for the Downtown Colorado Governor’s Awards this year in the category of “Best Recurring Event, Festival, or Activity in a Small Community”. The purpose of the awards is to honor organizations, people, and communities that are going above and beyond to give their residents extraordinary opportunities and events. Small communities are given a focus because, as we know, these large efforts are more difficult when you have less residents, space, people, and often funding—but still make it happen.
And we won! Eagle, Colorado was front and center at the award event held on September 22 in Pueblo.
Now, let me backtrack a bit. Because nominating an award... for another award… that seems a bit redundant, right? And an award for an event that I, myself, help organize? Pat yourself on the back much? Agreed, but hear me out.
I have had very little to do with the success of our Nimon-Walker Award event. I arrived in Eagle in May of 2015, just after that year's event, and my first attempt to organize the event was in 2016... which also just happened to be the 15th anniversary. You could say I’m just lucky enough to join in on the fun at the right time. This event and award are successful because of the library, our historical society, and the residents of Eagle, Eagle County, and the surrounding areas on the western slope. It is successful because we are lucky enough to live in an area where people not only think history is important, but is vital to understanding our community now and for the future.
The first Nimon-Walker Award, held in 2001,
In 2016, the event was held at the Avon
Kathy Heicher (center), President of the Eagle County Historical
The event itself transcends the award: we’re thrilled to see a friend, co-worker, or relative be honored for their work, but we’re more excited to meet, discuss, and learn from them. And if we can do this over coffee and delicious cookies, muffins, and cake with the rest of our friends, even better.
And I think that’s why we won at this year’s Governor’s Awards: who else has an event like this? How many people have ever heard of Eagle? (“Oh, you mean that place by Vail? Wait, you mean the place by Costco?!”) It’s easy for anyone to see how special this is and I hope that Eagle, Eagle Valley Library District, Eagle County Historical Society, and our residents embrace this as well. To say that this award is “deserved” on the 15th anniversary of the Nimon-Walker award event is an understatement.
Only 7 months until next year, so you (and I) have plenty of time to plan. See you there!