December 2, 2011

Barbara Jerome Behl, Larry Behl get this year’s GRACIE
Award to be presented at Chamber mixer on December 8

Debra Orecchio, Correspondent

The Behls

Barbara Jerome Behl and Larry Behl add some color to the festivities at the Conifer Christmas Parade in 2010. The Behls were the recipients of this year's GRACIE award given by the Platte Canyon Chamber of Commerce. They will be presented with the award at the chamber mixer on Dec. 8. (Courtesy Photo)

Barbara Jerome Behl and Larry Behl are this year's recipients of the GRACIE award given by the Platte Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lyn Kulenburg, one of the directors on the board for the chamber, said that the nomination for the award started with Barbara Behl individually because of her involvement in the community. She had more nominations than anybody else, Kulenburg said.

Larry Behl was included in the award, Kulenburg said, because he's been kind of a silent partner, working very hard "behind the scenes" and being supportive of his wife.

The Behls both said they were honored to hear that they had received the award.

"We were really tickled and honored," Barbara Behl said. "We feel pretty special right now."

Larry Behl said he just does whatever is needed. Other people who have received the award have also helped the community.

"We're joining a group of esteemed people," he said.

In addition to owning Deer Creek Realty in Bailey and the Shawnee Tea Room in Shawnee, Barbara Behl also serves on the "I Love U Guys" Foundation board of directors. She also served on the board of directors of the Mountain Peace Shelter for about five years.

Larry Behl owns Lawrence Behl Enterprises Inc.

He also has a band that has given its time on a number of occasions, including the annual Taste of Italy event of the Mountain Peace Shelter. And he helped with the renovation of the shelter.

Kathy Mastroianni, chief executive officer at the shelter, said he's always willing to use his truck for pulling a float in the Conifer Christmas Parade or for whatever is needed.

"He's a soft-spoken guy, but he shares his heart," she said.

While Barbara Behl is not on the Mountain Peace Shelter board now, she still is very active with the shelter, said Mastroianni. Barbara Behl was very instrumental in finding the perfect location for the shelter and negotiating with the seller for the purchase, she added.

"I give her a lot of credit for us having this beautiful shelter," Mastroianni said.

Barbara Behl is always there when she's needed and gives to the community in any way she can, according to Mastroianni. She gave an example of her inviting all the shelter residents for a free high tea at her tea room. It was a very special event for the shelter residents to be able to go out and do something elegant and fun.

Carrie Marsh, owner of Carrie Marsh Insurance in Bailey, said she would be hard put to think of something that Barbara Behl's not involved in. And while she is the one "out front" helping everyone, Larry Behl's in the background, doing all the lifting, carrying, and hauling, according to Marsh.

"[Barbara's] one of the brightest bulbs Bailey's got," she said. "When I think of people who volunteer, Barbara is on the top of the list."

Marsh said she was one who nominated Barbara Behl for the GRACIE and she thinks it's outstanding that the Behls received the award this year.

"We're really proud that we have citizens like that in our community," Kulenburg said.

Barbara Behl was recently honored by the Mountain Metro Association of Realtors and was presented with the Community Service Award for her contributions to the Platte Canyon community (see the Oct. 21 Flume).

The Platte Canyon chamber mixer will be Dec. 8 from 5-8 p.m. at Lynwood Park, said Kulenburg. Everybody is welcome to come to the mixer; it's a good chance for people to meet their neighbors and community members, she said.

The GRACIE award was started in 2006 by the chamber in honor of Gracie Trast, a longtime Park County resident who worked for more than 10 years to better the lives of disabled children in Park County. Trast was given the first GRACIE award in November 2006 for her contributions to the community. GRACIE stands for Giving, Resourceful, Admirable, Caring, Involved, and Enthusiastic.