At tonight’s Red Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, the winners of the Citizen of the Year and Businessperson of the Year were announced (we’ll be posting another article shortly about the Businessperson of the Year). The Citizen of the Year award goes to someone who involves themselves in the community in different ways, giving of their time and energy where it really makes a difference.
This year’s recipient, Travis Burdick, is not only the youngest recipient — former winner Glory Mahan joked that he’s younger than several of her grandchildren — but he probably gave the shortest acceptance speech in history. Somehow, the committee managed to get most of DSVS (Red Lodge’s Domestic & Sexual Violence Services organization) to the event without Travis finding out what was going on.
David Kallenbach, Executive Director of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation, talked about bringing Travis to Red Lodge eleven years ago as an Outward Bound intern, and spoke of his skills as an outdoorsman, surfer, and skateboarder. Many locals know about the work Travis has put in to build and maintain the skate park in Red Lodge. Others know him from DSVS. Others, because he plays bass for just about every band in Montana (we exaggerate, but only slightly). Still more, because of his work with high school kids to fight bullying.
The most touching moment of the evening was when emcee Glory Mahan asked if anyone else had anything to say. A young child in the audience stepped forward and took the microphone. He said that Travis “is a great man because he treats kids the way they should be treated.”
Travis Burdick has many talents, ranging from his art to his music, but he was honored tonight for his heart. In just over a decade of living in Red Lodge, he has touched numerous lives and dedicated innumerable hours of time to the community and the people who live here. The committee, which consists of all former Citizen of the Year award winners, chose Travis unanimously as this year’s recipient, and we think they made the right choice.
Congratulations to Travis Burdick. Red Lodge is a better place because he is here.