GR Chamber Recognizes Community Members, Businesses with Awards Luncheon

GR Chamber Recognizes Community Members, Businesses with Awards Luncheon

Tom Wilson was awarded the Green River Chamber's 2023 Distinguished Citizen award at the Awards Luncheon April 19. Green River Chamber photo

GREEN RIVER — The Green River Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Awards Luncheon on April 19 which recognizes residents and businesses throughout Green River.

The awards include volunteer of the year, organization of the year, and distinguished citizen of the year. There are also business awards including breakthrough business of the year which goes to a business that has been in business for less than five years, pacer business of the year which goes to a business that has been in business for more than one year and less than two years, and outstanding business of the year which goes to a business that has been in business for more than five years.

This Year’s Award Winners are as follows:

Advertisement - Story continues below...
  • 2022 Volunteer of the year award: Sean Deichmueller
  • 2023 Organization of the year award: Fast Cars & Foster Kids
  • 2023 Breakthrough Business of the year award: Green River Bowling Center
  • 2023 Pacer Business of the year award: Twisted Timber
  • 2023 Outstanding Business of the year award: NAPA Autoparts Unlimited
  • 2023 Distinguished Citizen of the year award: Tom Wilson

Volunteer of the Year

Sean Deichmueller has selflessly given his time for various community events over the years including the Red Desert Roundup Rodeo, Flaming Gorge Days, and the Crystal Classic. However, the most notable is his dedication to the River Festival and Run with the Horses Marathon, Half and 10K. For the past fifteen years, he has been the head of security for the annual event. 

His positive attitude and friendly demeanor in greeting the event attendees does not go unnoticed. Although it is a volunteer position, he takes his duties very seriously, making sure the event continues without a hitch.

Sean Deichmueller receives the 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award. Green River Chamber photo

Organization of the Year

Fast Cars & Foster Kids has dedicated itself to helping every foster child in Sweetwater county. Their goal is to help our local foster kids on an individual basis. Their goals are achieved by putting on autocross and car show events around the community. Additionally, Fast Cars & Foster Kids draws in many local businesses that help with donations, event locations, and support to help out with the success of the organization.

Their dedication to quality is rooted in making sure local foster children receive needed items. Many times, these children come into foster homes with the clothes on their backs, being the only clothes they own. Since the state does not pay to clothe foster kids, the burden is left to the foster parents. 

Sometimes it’s not clothing that’s needed but other items. Many kids may need winter boots or coats. Perhaps it a backpack and school supplies. Or diapers and baby formula. Fast Cars & Foster Kids tries to help take some of the burden off the foster parents. 

At the same time, they are also trying to keep our local car community alive and active. They work to bring car events to the area for all types of vehicle enthusiasts. The autocross events give performance-oriented people the chance to put their vehicle to the test, as well as hone their driving skills. They are able to do this in a controlled environment. It also helps to attract younger generations.

They also cater to those who like to show their vehicles. Their annual show & shine brings vehicles of every kind out of the woodwork.  Fast Cars & Foster Kids has been a part of the community since 2017. They have helped several hundred local children and given miles of smiles to future gearheads in our area.

Fast Cars & Foster Kids receive the 2023 Organization of the Year Award. Green River Chamber photo

Breakthrough Business of the Year

The Green River Bowling Center was purchased and brought back to life by its new owners Jeff Stout & Kelli Lennon. They re-opened the doors to the community on December 12, 2020. The hard work and dedication of these two entrepreneurs and all their wonderful staff have revitalized an integral gathering spot for everyone in Green River to enjoy.

Their passion as business owners has ensured that this amazing place is once again open for the recreational needs of friends & families. This is a place where people of all ages can go to recreate together without leaving town.

Jeff and Kelly remain very involved with community events. They support Make-A-Wish, Memorial Hospital Cancer Awareness-Bowling for Cancer, Green River Knights Baseball, Green River High School Sports, Special Olympics, Home School Kids Group, and many more. They will also be hosting their second annual End of the School Year Bash to provide safe entertainment allowing children to celebrate the culmination of another successful academic season.

Green River Bowling Center receives the 2023 Breakthrough Business of the Year Award. Green River Chamber photo

Pacer Business of the Year

Kayla and Bill Duncan started their family-owned business, Twisted Timber, in 2021 based from home. They grew quickly into a small brick and mortar, and before a full year in their first location, they moved down the road to a new space with so much room to grow. It is because of this “moving and shaking” that they are being recognized as the Pacer Business of 2023.  

Since their opening, this business has collaborated with many other local establishments, merchants, and home-based shops to promote a “thriving small town business community”. They have offered pop-up shops, created large seasonal events, and participated in multi-vendor shopping experiences. 

The Duncans and Twisted Timber are receiving this award on account of their unique variety of merchandise, wonderful customer service, and an eagerness to support the community.

Twisted Timber receives the 2023 Pacer Business of the Year Award. Green River Chamber photo

Outstanding Business of the Year

NAPA Autoparts Unlimited opened in 1994 as a locally owned and operated auto part store, and in 1997 they expanded by opening their Rock Springs location.

This local business is no stranger to community involvement. They are longtime sponsors for many local events, organizations & charities. Some of these include River Festival, Food Bank, GR Knights Baseball, GR Preschool, Cowboys Against Cancer, Red Desert Humane Society, Tree of Sharing, the Boys and Girls Club to help families in need during the holiday season, and for the past 20 years they have collected toys for the Salvation Army. 

Owner Jeb Burnett has played an active role in the Green River community serving as a volunteer firefighter for the past 35 years with the Green River Fire Department. His son, Cole, has also served as a volunteer firefighter for the past 11 years. Their long history of community involvement and their willingness to add a positive aspect to the community make this business an excellent candidate for this award.

NAPA Autoparts receives the 2023 Outstanding Business of the Year Award. Green River Chamber photo

Distinguished Citizen of the Year

Tom Wilson has called Green River home his entire life. He graduated from Green River High School in 1974 as a 1st Team All-Conference Linebacker, 1st Team All-Conference Offensive Lineman, 1st Team All State Linebacker, 2nd Team All State Offensive Lineman, second in the state for tackles, and leading the South defense to win the first Wyoming Shrine Bowl 37-0.

Shortly after graduating high school, he married the love of his life, Sheryl.  After working full time for two years with Buschelman Construction, he enrolled in the University of Wyoming in 1976. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology Education in 1980. In this time, he also grew his family with two daughters, Heather and Kristen.

He began his career as an interim welding and machine shop teacher at Rock Springs High School, wherein he earned teacher of the year. From 1981-1998, he taught woods, PE, architectural design, construction technology, and tech lab at the junior high/middle school level in Green River. From there, he transferred to Green River High School and taught welding, architectural design, and tech lab.

His football coaching career started in 1987. Over the next 13 years, he led the Wolves to six semifinal appearances. As a coach he holds 53 career wins, the most wins of any coach in school history. He was selected as 4A West Coach of the Year three times, and in 1993, he was the head coach for the Shrine Bowl.

In 2002, he became Dean of Students and the Activities Director for Green River High School, and while in this position, he earned his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Wyoming. In 2004, he became the District Activities Director for Sweetwater County School District No. 2, and held this position until he retired in 2015. During his tenure as Activity Director he earned a list of impressive accolades:

  • Served as president of the Wyoming Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association from 2004-2007 and was also the Wyoming Leadership Training coordinator for this program from 2011-2015
  • Won the State Award of Merit 2008/2009
  • 3 Time nominee for the National Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award
  • Only recipient in the US to receive the National Jim Teff Award in 2014 for his work in Distance Learning
  • Served on the National Scholarship Committee from 2011-2015
  • Wyoming Athletic Director of the Year 2012/2013
  • Served on the National Endowment Committee from 2013-2014
  • Served on the NIAAA Section 8
  • Earned Certified Master Athletic Administrator in 2013, a distinction only earned by a total of 4 Athletic Directors in Wyoming

As one of his many special projects, he spearheaded the Green River Hall of Fame, which came to fruition in 2009.  Since then many schools around Wyoming have implemented the same recognition of achievements for past students, staff, and school teams in their own high schools. In the fall of 2015, he was rehired as the welding instructor for GRHS, retiring a second time in 2021.

As a grandfather of six, as well as continuing his commitment to caring for the grounds of his community church, he had to find more ways to occupy his time in 2022.  He founded Cedar Mountain Industries, a custom home/remodel design company in February. In March, he was appointed to SWCSD#2 Board of Trustees. In April, he was appointed to the Green Belt Task Force for the City of Green River. One of his most current projects with the GBTF was sparked by his desire to create a wheelchair accessible multi-use trail system that overlooks the city. He spent his time negotiating with land owners, the BLM, helping with grants, and connecting with community partners. With all of his amazing efforts, the project could possibly start construction this year.

Wilson has shown a commitment to students, fellow teachers, athletes, family, and to the community of Green River. He is an extraordinary football player, educator, coach, mentor, volunteer, community member, husband, father, grandfather, and a true Green River Wolves fan, and the 2023 Distinguished Citizen of the Year.