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The City Journals

Holladay’s Helping Hands

May 09, 2018 02:22PM ● By Aspen Perry

Mayor Rob Dahle, Senator Jani Iwamoto, Paul Fetzer, and Anne Fetzer. (Holly Smith/City of Holladay)

By Aspen Perry  |  [email protected]

The saying goes, “It takes a village,” and within this village there are always individuals who go above and beyond their civic duty to ensure their community thrives. 

Holladay’s Helping Hands Award is meant to recognize and pay homage to the Good Samaritan influencers of Holladay on an annual basis, during national volunteer week.

“Our aim in launching this new program is to celebrate the wonderful people of our community,” Mayor Rob Dahle said, during the award presentation held April 19.

Dahle began by thanking Holly Smith, assistant to the city manager, who prepared the Helping Hands mission statement, in addition to working with him on the concept of the award a little over a year ago.

“2018 marks the inaugural year of the new programs, and this year’s selection committee was fortunate to [nominate] two exceptional members of our community,” Dahle said

Dave Chisholm was the first to be awarded, for over 13 years of spending countless volunteer hours as the City of Holladay’s emergency preparedness program manager.

City Manager Gina Chamness said Chisholm was the person who immediately came to mind when she first heard of the award.

“I knew immediately who should be one of the inaugural recipients,” Chamness said.

She continued, “working only as a volunteer, Dave has coordinated the city’s efforts to respond to emergency situations.”

Chamness explained Chisholm’s efforts in working with Unified Fire Authority, in addition to coordinating CERT training courses to ensure residents are well prepared.

After spending 5 to 10 hours weekly on this effort, for the last 15 years, Chamness conveyed her appreciation for Chisholm’s dedication.

“He remains as dedicated to this effort today, as he was 15 years ago… Dave is a fine example of that commitment to service,” Chamness said.

Chisholm thanked the city for their recognition, though for him it is not about awards.

“I don’t do it for recognition, I’ve lived in this community almost 80 years…and when Holladay was organized I wanted to help in any way I could,” Chisholm said.

The second recipient of the inaugural Helping Hands award was Paul Fetzer, who was nominated by Senator Jani Iwamoto.

Fetzer is the master gardener at the Mt. Olympus Community Garden. His passion and gardening expertise resulted in the garden’s early development through to it’s current stature in the community—including ADA accessibility and raised beds for those in wheelchairs.

Iwamoto spoke of the origins of the project being rooted to the concept of garden and healthy living education for the elementary students of Howard R. Driggs, in addition to it’s later involvement of helping the refugee community. 

“This garden is what it is today, because of Paul Fetzer,” Iwamoto said.

Iwamoto became emotional during her praise of Fetzer, and all his volunteer hours have brought to the community.

“This recognition of Paul Fetzer is at a critical time…,” Iwamoto said, her voice cracking slightly before she continued.  “What Paul has created is a piece of heaven on earth.”

“He has given our children a piece of time to remember, and to appreciate the beauty of the world around them.”

Iwamoto knew Fetzer would be a special person in her life, and reflected on the calm the garden has brought to her, especially when feeling the pressures of the world. 

Fetzer humbly praised the work of the Nepalese families who work and tend the garden, and is grateful for outside business efforts as well. 

“By in large, the community surrounding us… have been the largest contributors in time, and have really been terrific,” Fetzer said.

Holladay City will open up the next round of nominations in December of 2018, for the 2019 honorees.