Steamboat’s Marion Gibson adds Leckenby Award to Florence Nightingale honor
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Marion Gibson, who worked as a school nurse in Hayden for three decades and claimed a Florence Nightingale Award along the way, was presented with the Leckenby Pioneer Award by the Tread of Pioneers Museum Oct. 5.
The award has been given out annually since 1980 in memory of the early Steamboat Pilot editor Charles Leckenby, who championed the cause of bringing the railroad to Steamboat Springs in the early 20th century at a time when the region was struggling to attract goods and services and transport its agricultural and mineral resources to distant markets.
“Marion is a person who really fits this award,” local rancher, historian and author Jim Stanko said in presenting the award to Gibson. “She started a children’s ski club in Hayden, and (arranged for the) school district to send the kids in a school bus so they could ski on Mount Werner. She helped a lot of kids in the Hayden area take the next step to become productive adults. She (delivered) Meals on Wheels until they told Marion she couldn’t drive anymore.”
Gibson described to her audience the first time she was smitten with Steamboat in the midst of a 1960 road trip along U.S. Highway 40 from her home in Pennsylvania.
“There was just one stoplight, and we were just impressed with the beauty,” she recalled.
Ever upbeat, Gibson reminisced about the numerous times she ran in the Bolder Boulder 10K race and expressed her enthusiasm for her current home at Casey’s Pond Senior Living.
“It’s like living in a resort hotel,” she said. “They have a lot of activities to strengthen our minds.”
The Tread of Pioneers also dedicated the 2017 Stanley L. Larson Pioneer Award in memory of Steamboat’s last mayor Jim Golden, who died Aug. 1, 2016, in Las Vegas. Like the Leckenby Award, the Larson Award is meant to honor people who have enriched the quality of life in Routt County, either through service in a public institution, preservation of local history or through contributions to the county’s heritage.
The 2017 Larson Award was accepted by Gina Golden Toothaker on behalf of her father.
Jim Golden, who would have turned 90 in November 2016, served as mayor from 1972 to 74, before the city of Steamboat Springs changed its charter and adopted the city manager/city council form of government.
Golden was probably best known for his ability to lead the local rural electrical cooperative, Yampa Valley Electric Association, into an era of unprecedented fiscal health. During his tenure, he took YVEA from 4,000 customers and less than $1 million in revenues to 18,500 meters and annual revenues of $26 million.
From that platform, he became one of the town’s most influential people.
Golden was a founding member of the Steamboat Springs Rotary and Toastmaster clubs. With the late Del Scott, Golden also helped begin the Routt County Foundation for Senior Citizens, leading to the creation of three housing projects.
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Time seemed to stop for Matthew Engle for a few seconds after he heard crunching metal last week while he was in downtown Steamboat Springs.