COLTON - In a community of over 1,000 people, two stood out as especially devoted and eager to volunteer work and neighborhood assistance.
Judy and Ed Fuhr were named the first ever Colton Co-Citizens of the Year Saturday night, a ceremony that took place during the annual Winterfest Concert.
Mrs. Fuhr is the superintendent of Graymont Stone and Concrete in Potsdam, while Mr. Fuhr currently serves as the businesss safety coordinator.
The typically solo award is given to a citizen who exemplifies great dedication to work in the community and is always announced during Winterfest weekend.
It is always done through the Winterfest Planning Committee. (President) Grace Hawley takes nominations for people who have provided a lot of volunteer work in the community and/or helped with neighbor-to-neighbor assistance, committee member Ruth T. McWilliams said.
It is always announced during the concert, community event on Saturday. This year, with the Jazz it Up January theme, they started with the school performance, leading into the award presentation. Then Don Washington performed the rest of the evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Fuhr are active in the community in various ways, but are particularly heavily involved with the annual operations at Higley Flow State Park.
They are very active in the Friends of Higley Flow State Park Association. ... With the Higley Association, there is the Round the Islands Race, which is a canoe, paddle boat and kayak race that they organize in August every year, Mary Jane Watson said.
They also are involved with the River of Lights that happens in July. People buy flares and they put flares along the water way. The boaters go out and look at them and it is very cool.
Mr. Fuhr has also been a director for the Higley Flow Association for many years and the Fuhr family has provided many years of recreational opportuntiies for the community, according to Ms. Watson.
They are very, very active with the Friends of Higley Flow State Park, and they are involved with organizing activities in the park during the summer and winter. They organize the trail clean up during the spring, Ms. Watson said.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there are over 30,000 visitors to the state park, using the beach, visiting the trails, etc. During the winter ,they groom over 12 miles of cross country trails.
Ms. Watson added that Mr. and Mrs. Fuhr are avid cross country skiers and were instrumental in the creation of the newly established Higley Hustle Ski Festival.
Among their other work in Colton is their organizing of the Higley 100 Century Ride in the fall, and their involvement with the construction of the new Higley Flow State Lodge.
Ms. McWilliams said that the addition of the lodge one month ago may have been the deciding factor in the Fuhrs earning the award.
What tipped the scale for them this year was the completion of the Higley Flow Lodge. I think that was what (Grace Hawley) based the decision on, she said.
Mr. Fuhr is a lifelong resident of Colton, while Mrs. Fuhr has lived in the hamlet since 1973.
The co-winners, while honored with the recognition, also felt humbled and almost undeserving. We were surprised. We felt very humbled and somewhat embarrassed because there are so many people who have limited means. There are a lot of extremely good people in Colton who meet those needs, Mrs. Fuhr said.
What weve done is try to improve recreational opportunities for people in Colton but in comparison to some other people in the area, we dont think were worthy. Were very appreciative that they would consider us for it.
Theres a lot of other people who are more deserving in the community. We do put a lot of time in, but I was surprised and humbled, Mr. Fuhr added.
Sharing this prestigious honor together is something that the couple feels was meant to be, and they both gave much of the credit to their success to their better half.
Its largely because of Ed that I am able to be so heavily involved in the community, Mrs. Fuhr explained.
Everything weve done around the park and the community, it has basically been a team effort. We started at the park 20 years ago. I got the hardware and the repairs, and Judy is very good at the paperwork and the communication with the people, Mr. Fuhr added.
Because of this, it has always done a team effort, and we have worked together at Graymont for 30 years (also.) Besides being there and doing the recreational stuff, it made sense for us to win together. It just fit. Graymont has been very supportive of any community efforts. When you go there, you go there for a good cause. They are great and wonderful. They are very supportive of the employees and the community.