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Lautzenheiser receives Lamplighter Award

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Tire dealer Ron Lautzenheiser is the 2011 Lamplighter Award recipient. The annual Lamplighter Award recognizes a Fort Collins, Colo., community member "who exemplifies the spirit of collaboration with a view toward bringing people together for the common good."

Lautzenheiser owns two Big O Tires Centers in Fort Collins as well as two Grease Monkeys outlets, one in Fort Collins and one in Windsor.

“I am humbled and honored that Team Fort Collins has chosen to recognize me for my community involvement over the last few years, particularly when we live in a community that has so many outstanding citizens,” he says. “In reality, it is I that is genuinely privileged to be allowed to work with so many selfless and talented people dedicated to making our community a better place to live.”

The award will be presented to Lautzenheiser at the 8th annual Simply Red event to benefit TEAM Fort Collins. TEAM Fort Collins is a nationally-recognized community coalition that promotes "a healthy lifestyle through education and awareness preventing the abuse and illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among youth, their families and our community."

Lautzenheiser was chosen by the committee because of his extensive dedication to the business, family and youth community. Since 2001, Lautzenheiser has been heavily involved with the North Fort Collins Business Association (NFCBA); the association, in partnership with the city, launched a successful effort to redevelop the north side of the city.

"It’s been an unbridled success with credit going to many,” he says.

Along the way, Lautzenheiser and the NFCBA learned an important lesson: "Rebuilding a community entails far more than bricks and mortar. It’s about people, and particularly, our children.” They became involved with Irish Elementary, at the time one of the most challenged schools within the Poudre School District (PSD).

With requests from Principals Brenda Gifford and Guillermo Medina, the "Coats and Boots" effort was launched in August 2006. This was soon followed by the beginning of "Project Smile." Today, the NFCBA and the community provide more than 500 children in PSD with new coats and/or boots, and free dental care to more than 600 through Project Smile.

Lautzenheiser served as the founding president and board chairman for Project Smile from 2006-2009.

“It has been my privilege to be involved with both. The smiles on the faces of our children say it all,” says Lautzenheiser. “The hugs are great also.”

He also is on the board of directors for the North Fort Collins Business Association, Citizens Advisory Group -- North Fort Collins Urban Renewal District, and Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado, and is a founding member of the South Fort Collins Business Association. He serves as a Deacon at the Redeemer Lutheran Church and is involved with the Downtown Fort Collins Sertoma Club.

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