Men, Woman Of The Year A Gift To Payson

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It's not always easy to recognize the accomplishments of Rim country's everyday heroes.

There are just too many of them.

Once a year, however, we do get a chance to honor some of Rim country's more outstanding residents with our Man and Woman of the Year awards.

This year, the choices for Payson's people of the year were not difficult thanks to those who felt passionately and sent ballots and letters nominating them.

Our Woman of the Year is Lois Johnson, known as "the heart and soul of the Rim Country Literacy Program."

Johnson lost her battle with cancer in November, but by the flood of nominations we received, her love and legacy lives on.

"Awards such as this normally recognize individuals who are ‘high profile' within the community ...," former Mayor Ray Schum said in his nomination. "Just the opposite is true in the case of Lois Johnson. Yet her efforts were truly noteworthy and extremely beneficial to hundreds of our citizens in a personal way and largely unknown to the public."

"Lois inspired us and made each of us feel very special and appreciated," wrote Anne Henley, literacy program volunteer in her nomination. "She was an excellent role model for us and the students."

The Man of the Year award is shared by the owners of Cucina Paradiso restaurant, Gerardo Moceri and John Posteraro, for their continued support of charities, local organizations and schools.

Their efforts during the Rodeo-Chediski fire alone were noteworthy, when Moceri and his staff prepared 3,500 meals a day for firefighters and evacuees. The lengthy list of contributions that Moceri and Posteraro have made to the community in the short time they have been here, is a shining example of citizenship and character.

Congratulations and thank you to our honorees. Your good works have not gone unnoticed by this community.

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