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Sat, Dec. 14

PV Chamber's Lew Rees is PAL's Man of the Year

By Rae Monteith

Prescott Valley Tribune

Prescott Area Leadership Inc. has selected Prescott Valley Chamber Director Lew Rees its 2001 Man of the Year.

PAL, an organization that develops and trains future leaders in Yavapai County, bestows the award annually based on community leadership, involvement in a variety of activities, community service, and exampleship.

"I'm very honored and humbled and certainly I'm just proud to be a team player in this area," Rees said of the award.

Rees said he feels that he shouldn't receive this recognition alone, and he credits the community, businesses and people with whom he works.

"There are literally thousands of people who should be recognized and truly everybody that I have had the pleasure to be involved with or who has touched my life should be a part of this. I think it should be a community or organization award, because all I've done is played a part," he said.

Rees said it has been a rewarding thing for him to be a part of the community and its people.

"It's the people to me that make a difference," Rees said.

Rees moved to the Prescott Valley area five years ago to begin a job with Western Newspapers.

He moved from Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City Missouri, where he was involved in their Chamber.

"I started with Western and they were very good to me. Then I was fortunate enough to get an interview with the PV Chamber and the rest of the five years is history, as they say," he said.

Rees said his style of leadership stems from being brought up in a family filled with love.

"I'm a family man," Rees said. He is obviously proud of his wife of 20 years, Gay, and his three daughters, Sami, 19, Alex, 17 and Desi, 15.

"Anything I am I owe to the good Lord above and to my wife Gay who has supported me, and also to my parents who are still alive and living in Dewey.

"I was raised with family values, with love being foremost. I always felt like I was loved and cared for."

"I believe in community," he said, "and as leaders, we have to be more of a servant. We have to have great compassion, realizing that no one is better than anyone else."

Rees said leaders must be encouragers.

"I don't think arrogance has any place in the leadership," he said. "I consider myself a servant and not a leader. My job is to remove stumbling blocks, so that people who want to contribute to community or to businesses can do so."

Rees said he sees the community as a whole and feels that if people don't ignore any aspect of it, they will be strong.

"For businesses to be strong in our area, we have to be aware of the entire community, not just our own personal shingles over the door."

Rees said this is why the Chamber has taken the leadership role in the PV area, trying to build a model community, and not ignoring any aspect.

"For businesses to flourish, owners need to be aware and get involved in the community. Their businesses will be affected either positively or negatively by the community as a whole. The value system and the ethics as a whole are what will impact the community.

"Looking at the broad scope is what this chamber is all about, to build a community where all of us want to live and work," he said.

Rees said one of his priorities is to invest in the youth of the community.

"We as the older generation need to focus clearly on how to help our younger generation develop into better citizens than we are today," he said.

He said another strength is to tap into senior citizens' wisdom and experience. "I have been very blessed to work with a board of directors and membership who are very open minded if it's in the best interest of the community. And that is the way I like to work," he said.

"I want to express my thanks to Mayor Rick Killingsworth, and a visionary town council and staff who have done an extraordinary job and are great partners," Rees said.

He also expressed thanks to the Humboldt School District and key players that make up the leaders of the community.

"The only legend we have to leave is not the material, but what we have contributed to mankind while we were here," he said.

PAL will honor Rees and Woman of the Year, Chino Valley resident Barbara Polk at a reception at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27 at the Prescott Resort. Tickets are $15 and are available at the PV Chamber, 772-8857.

Lew Rees is PVs energetic champion. Trib photo/Art Merrill

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