Take Pride Project Presents Awards

Ira Gibel, president of Take Pride Project (center), presented 2013 Volunteer of the Year awards to Cliff Sage and Denise Prechtel for tireless dedication and devotion to the people of Pine and Strawberry.

Photo by Joy Hafford. |

Ira Gibel, president of Take Pride Project (center), presented 2013 Volunteer of the Year awards to Cliff Sage and Denise Prechtel for tireless dedication and devotion to the people of Pine and Strawberry.


Without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of our community is our volunteer spirit exemplified by citizens like Cliff Sage and Denise Prechtel, who on Sunday were named the Take Pride Project 2013 Volunteers of the Year.

The Take Pride Project of P/S began as a collaboration of local groups, businesses and community members dedicated to preserving our community’s charm and historic appeal through town improvement projects.

Some notable efforts have included removing and planting trees during the bark beetle infestation, establishing memorial benches, a picket fence, ramada and picnic tables at the Community Center and refurbishing, fencing and safety enhancement of the children’s playground.

Take Pride volunteers maintain the garden at the entrance of the Pine post office and perform extensive road cleanup and historical site restoration.

Since 2001, Take Pride has presented the annual award to volunteers who have shown tireless dedication and devotion to the people of Pine and Strawberry.

“They are great people and part of what makes this town special,” said Take Pride President Ira Gibel, who presented the awards at the Pine ramada on Aug. 11.

Cliff Sage has made a difference in countless lives working with Tonto Rim Search and Rescue and has demonstrated outstanding dedication and exceptional service for 16 years as one of Take Pride’s longest serving volunteers.

Denise Prechtel displays endless community spirit in service to Take Pride, in addition to assisting in pancake breakfast fund-raisers at town festivals. She also volunteers with the P/S Food Bank, P/S Business Community and the Mountain Village Foundation.

More goings on

The AWANA Clubs of First Baptist Church in Pine kicked off Monday night with registration, a carnival, food and fun. Clubs for all age groups begin Aug. 19. Please see next week’s P/S Happenings column for more about this wonderful program available to local youngsters. It’s never too late to join the fun at FBC.

Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race is Friday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 15. This is a huge fund-raiser for the Fuels Reduction effort in our community.

They are still accepting sponsors of all levels and need items for the auction. If you can help or want more information, contact Maureen at www.fireontherim.com/.

The event includes free camping onsite or in nearby Tonto National Forest, kids camp and race, bike raffle, silent auction, beer garden and a spaghetti dinner by Chef Gerardo Moceri who apprenticed and cooked throughout Italy! Food trucks will also be available.

The Ranch at Fossil Creek Farm Dinner is another unique and special event coming at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21. It will be held at the Fossil Creak Creamery in Strawberry. This is another benefit for the Fuels Reduction program. It is a country-style meal coordinated by Chef Akos Szabo. This was incredibly delicious last year, and expect no different this year! Tickets are $75 per person and seats are limited. For tickets call (928) 476-5178 or visit http://ranchatfossilcreek.com/ news-events/. 

Celebrating 100

There are 100 pennies in a dollar, 100 yards in a football field, 100 senators in the U.S. Senate, 100 tiles in Scrabble — and by my estimate, 100 P/S Happening columns that I have written!

This week I want to commemorate my 100th column by thanking all who made it possible, starting with the people of P/S! 100 columns is a milestone worth celebrating because of the amazing community supporting my efforts. I appreciate what every resident has contributed to the column.

I’m honored to have met you, participated in your events, and written about the people, groups and businesses that make P/S such a great community.

I must also extend my personal thanks to the readers of the column. I’m grateful for your response to the events and fund-raisers I’ve announced which hopefully benefited from readers like you making a difference by attending them.

Event writers are like missionaries, we want to spread the news of the next upcoming event to everyone! It’s a joy every time a reader stops me to talk about the column or a P/S event. As a writer, there is no greater reward.

Recently I was getting coffee at Circle K, when I was taken aback by someone asking, “Have you finished your next column?” I quizzically looked around with uncertainty, “Are you talking to me?”

Another time as I got out of my Jeep, someone said “Hi Joy!” and I said “Hi!” back, thinking “I should remember her name.” Before I could confess to my memory lapse, she said, “You don’t know me, but I read the column.”

Then there are the kind individuals I meet who tell me they look forward to the column every week and how much they enjoy reading it. Others thank me for a specific column that provided information that was helpful to them.

Even after 100 columns it still surprises me that some people actually read it and to be recognized on the street — like an undeserving celebrity!

Thanks to a wonderful community sharing events with me and those who read about and attend them, together we have completed 100 columns.

The journey began with some e-mails and phone calls from friends I wish to thank for encouraging me to consider being the event correspondent for P/S. What joy your observation has brought to my life!

I’m grateful to editor Pete Aleshire and mentors Teresa McQuerrey and photographer Andy Towle. I appreciate all the Roundup staff, columnists and reporters who teach, energize and inspire me. When I grow up I want to be like you!

Most importantly thanks to my husband, Richard, for his acceptance that a writer’s mind is endlessly in the clouds and his infinite tolerance, encouragement and contributions as a reader and critic. This is not my achievement, but ours!

Thanks to all of you for allowing me the best job in the world! I hope to write 100 more columns for you. Send events to haffordjoy1@gmail.com.


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