I am so honored tonight to talk about someone that I really admire and I really miss. I am so happy that you are giving an award in her name.
There is something special about living in your community your whole life and giving back to the community. This is what Shirley Leeper did.
I know many of you knew her. Shirley was one of my favorite people. She was a great woman, a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, daughter and pioneer for our community. She was kind, giving and gentle.
Shirley’s dad was the first Mayor of Commerce City, when it was Commerce Town. He and his wife Lila also gave back to his community.
She had 3 sisters. One passed on before her and there are still 2 living.
I know she learned how to give back to her community through her parents. Her father was the bank before there was a bank. He helped many people to start their businesses. He was on founding boards throughout the city.
Shirley chose to stay in the community and made an impact on how the community developed.
She was born in 1930.
She met her husband Harlow at school. They started first grade together and graduated from Union/ACHS in 1948. They were life time sweethearts. They were married in 1952. They had 3 daughters. All of whom went to Adams City High School. One of her daughters, Katherine died at a young age (in 1990) from cancer. Marilyn and Lou Anne are the other two daughters. They have 7 grandchildren.
During Shirley’s lifetime she was a teacher at Aurora Junior High and a substitute teacher for SD14, a business owner of a greenhouse and of Commerce City Floral for over 30 years.
Shirley was a moving force to start many organizations and belonged to many other organizations to include;
* Mission Possible which was an organization that formed the Intergenerational Learning Center at Kearney Middle School.
* Art Reach which was a Festival of Trees at Christmas that were donated to needy families.
« The Colorado Burn Fund (with Harlow) to support the fireman of the Adams County volunteer fireman who were burned and one of them lost their life due to the refinery fire.
* DECA Club of SD 14.
* Altrussa Club of Denver-specializing in community needs.
* Florist Associations.
* She was involved with the Adam County Historical Society and the Commerce City Historical Society.
* South Adams Women’s Association.
* This very organization - CCBPA formerly known as the Merchants Association.
* She even started a club called “The Shirley Club” of course your name had to be Shirley to be in the club.
* Shirley also stood by Harlow and was a partner to his many business endeavors. They were a great team.
I had the honor to work with Shirley on the CCHS and on the South Adams Women’s Association. One of the most recent things we are doing in the South Adams Women’s is “Paying it forward”. Each member gets $100 in cash as we pay if forward for someone else. She was always thinking of ways to help people. As I think about all the people like Shirley that we have lost, people that molded our community and molded us, I feel sad. I think of these people all the time and sometimes you don’t realize what they really did until they are gone. I think of my parents often and I miss them very much too. I think of how they struggled and how they overcame and what they passed on to me. I feel very fortunate for my foundation, integrity and work ethic that I learned from them. If you are lucky enough to still have your parents spend as much time with them as you can for one day they will not be here to ask questions, to call, to visit, to hug, etc. What are we leaving to the next generation? What are we teaching the next generation?
So for CCPBA the ones who started this organization are now gone and it is up to the people in this room. It is now our generation to be sure to continue organizations that were started years ago and continue to be a part of building of the city. It is hard and it takes time and continuous commitment but we can’t let things stop and fade away. We have to continue. It is our turn now. It is easy to say well maybe we don’t have enough interest but before giving up think of our friends and family who have worked so hard to make the city what it is today.
They are all looking down on us and The most wonderful thing is that their eyes have seen Jesus. Let’s make them proud.
The person chosen to receive the Shirley Leeper award tonight is. (CCBPA Note: It was awarded to Harlow Leeper)
Composed by Debra Bullock for the Commerce City Business and Professional Association
Commerce City Business and Professional Association Presenting
The Shirley Leeper Outstanding Leadership Memorial Award