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The City Journals

Chamber Honors South Valley Heroes

May 05, 2016 03:31PM ● By Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

South Valley - Jake Bright was honored to win the Business Man of the Year award from the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce at their annual Knight of Heroes awards ceremony and banquet at the Herriman Fire Station. 

“When I won the award, my whole table teared up — my mom, wife, boss and his wife and close friends,” he said. “Not everybody knows my story of where I was at years go, but it is just awesome because I’m at such a better point in my life right now, and it just shows that every human can change for the better.”

Bright is the general manager at Salsa Leedos Mexican Grill in Riverton, and he won the award for showing passion and leadership in that position, according to his bio read at the banquet. When he’s not working, Bright volunteers his time speaking to students at Riverton High School about the dangers of drug abuse.

“I’m still in disbelief, but it means quite a bit to me to receive this honor,” Bright said. “I’m very goal driven, and this award motivates me to reach these goals. I love the recognition.” 

In addition to Bright, the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce honored two more community members, two local businesses and 13 public safety officials at their ceremony March 18. 

“When we first started doing the event, the committee wanted to spotlight public safety officials,” Susan Schilling, chamber president, said. “They were excited. They wanted to spotlight heroes and they looked [at] those people in safety jobs as heroes.”

The chamber decided to call the banquet “Knight of Heroes” because it would be a night to honor modern-day knights, or those who take care of their community, Schilling said. 

Anyone can nominate someone for an award through the chamber’s website, and then the chamber selects a winner from the nominees. 

“I think it’s a great opportunity for those who are looking at making nominations because when they are thinking about it, they look at somebody and see what they really do for the community,” Schilling said. “They see the value in other people. It helps you realize there are people out there doing really good things.” 

Madeline Freeman was the volunteer of the year, according to the chamber. After her sister was diagnosed with cancer, she started volunteering with Relay for Life, a group that raises money to help communities fight against cancer. Her group raised about 4 million dollars last year. 

The chamber picked Laura Klarman, public relations manager at Riverton Hospital, as Business Woman of the Year because “she has developed relationships with nearly all businesses in the Riverton and its surrounding areas,” according to her bio read at the event. 

Kathy Larrabee won the Riverton Unified Police Department award. As a victim’s advocate, she helped the Riverton precinct become more proactive at stopping domestic violence and brought the Pinwheels for Prevention, a child abuse awareness program, to the city.

Sergeant Cody Stromberg of Unified Police Department’s Herriman precinct was recognized for his dedication to duty and community. When a resident approached him about a possible drug dealing at a local high school, he investigated the situation until he had enough evidence to arrest some of the people responsible, according to Lieutenant Troy Carr. 

The crew of Riverton’s Medic Engine 124 was honored for saving two lives on Sept. 27. Matt Pulsipher, captain; William Dinkel, engineer; Chris Thurman, paramedic; and Jordan Fowlks, paramedic, took two individuals to the Intermountain Medical Center on that day — one had an obstruction stuck in his throat, the other had a pulmonary embolism. Both went home from the hospital several days later. 

Mike Ulibarri, battalion chief for Unified Fire, was recognized at the ceremony for going over to his neighbor’s house in a time of crisis when he was off duty. Andrew Burton, chief of Saratoga Springs Police Department — which serves Bluffdale — nominated Matthew Schauerhamer, corporal; Nick Stidham, detective; and Nathan Harward, officer, for responding efficiently and effectively to a theft. 

Captain Jarred Roberts, firefighters Kenny Moller and Dustin Moon and paramedics Aaron Whitmill and Brent Strong claimed the award as Bluffdale City Fire Department’s heroes for their quick response time. 

“Normally you see these people who won awards as everyday people, but this is an opportunity to look at them as something more,” Schilling said.