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Jim Gaddis, 'Guiding Light' For Young Ski Athletes, Is Rotary Volunteer Citizen

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Park City Rotary on Tuesday presented its annual Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award to Jim Gaddis, a longtime benefactor of sport and athletic programs in the region. 

In a gathering held in Rotary Park, speakers said that Jim Gaddis, a Utah native and a nationally-ranked alpine ski racer in his youth, has been a guiding light for local grassroots youth sports programs.

They said he’s a worthy recipient of the Volunteer Citizen Award, named after Jack Green, (Park City’s Mayor from 1978 to 1986.)

Gaddis co-founded the Youth Sports Alliance after the 2002 Winter Olympics and was an early supporter of the National Ability Center. 

One of those recognizing Gaddis was Bob Marsh, a long-time friend and renowned himself as former director of the Park City Ski Team.     He said Gaddis’ experience as a young racer inspired him to help later generations of athletes.

“Jim knew from his own experience as a junior competitor that the high cost of tuition, travel and training would prohibit many athletes from participating in ski racing and winter sports.   So what did Jim do when he left ski coaching?    He started a non-profit organization and called it the Utah Winter Sports Racers Foundation with the interest to raise money for those needing financial support.”

Thor Kallerud, President of the Youth Sports Alliance, talked about Gaddis’ style of fundraising.    

“Jim has proven that if you need something done, you pick up the phone and you call.  And usually the calls go like this:   ‘Hey!  Jim Gaddis here.   We’re raising money for this project.  I need some help.   I got you down for X amount of dollars.    I know you can afford it, so pony up……click.’”

Tributes were also paid by restauranteur Hans Fuegi and National Ability Center founder Meeche White.

In his remarks to the Rotarians, Gaddis said he learned about being a donor himself.      

“When you go around and have your hand out all the time, you also got to contribute a little bit.  So I remember the first time I contributed, maybe $25, and it just about killed me.  Twenty-five dollars of my hard-earned money?  I couldn’t hardly do it.  So you keep doing it, it becomes easier and easier.   For all of you want to know, keep doing it, it gets easier and easier.  It’s kinda like giving away Christmas presents.  It’s a lotta fun.”

Gaddis and this year’s Professional Citizen honoree, Katie Wright, will be honored with a place in this year’s Miners’ Day Parade.   They will be joined by last year’s recipients, Volunteer Citizen Karen Marriott and Professional Citizen Rich Bullough, since last year’s parade was cancelled by the pandemic.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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